Updated from 12:48 p.m. EDT

Financial stocks saw choppy trading Monday along with the major indices, despite garnering a load of positive analyst research.


(WB) - Get Report

was upgraded to outperform by Friedman Billings, lifting shares by 1.2% to $53.60. Credit Suisse likewise began coverage of


(ICE) - Get Report

with an outperform rating. Shares added 2.4%, or $3.56, to $149.19.

Jefferies upped health insurer and managed-care provider


( AGP) to hold from underperform, and its stock jumped 5.5% to $25.52. The analyst cited a more attractive risk/reward profile, among other things.


H&R Block

(HRB) - Get Report

climbed 4.7% to $23.58 after a UBS analyst predicted that the tax preparer will be more likely to sell itself -- and possibly for $27 to $33 a share -- after it closes the sale of its subprime-lending unit, Option One Mortgage. The analyst stamped a buy rating on the stock.

Britain-based banking giant


(BCS) - Get Report

was also on the rise after

The Wall Street Journal

reported that 1% holder Atticus Capital is

encouraging the bank

to drop its planned takeout of

ABN Amro

( ABN). Barclays rose 1.1% to $57.96. ABN shares lost 1% to $46.97.


Colonial Bancgroup

( CNB) said it will buy back up to $150 million of its shares, boosting the stock by 1.1% to $24.86, and New York-based


(AB) - Get Report

reported that May assets under management gained 3.1% sequentially to $794 billion. Its shares tacked on 2.8% to $90.09.



Financial Sector Index recently added 0.2% to 9776.26. The KBW Bank Index was up 0.4% to 115.68.

Among those on the downswing, however, was

MarketAxess Holdings

(MKTX) - Get Report

. Shares slid 3.8% to $17.32 after an analyst with Credit Suisse cut the bond exchange to underperform, saying its expensive stock price is unwarranted.

Capital Trust

( CT) lost 4.5% to $42.03 on a Stifel Nicolaus downgrade to hold from buy.

James River Group

(JRVR) - Get Report

, a North Carolina-based insurer, dropped after agreeing to sell itself to investment-management firm D.E. Shaw for $34.50 a share -- a slight discount to Friday's closing price.

The deal, valued at some $575 million, will probably close in the second half of 2007. Shares gave up 3.1%, or $1.09, to $34.09.