Mountains of positive analyst research helped to lift financial stocks higher on Monday, though
had a quick rise on M&A news.
The Britain-based bank jumped 2.7% after
sweetening its takeout bid
against a rival offer from a consortium led by
Royal Bank of Scotland
worth about $98 billion (71.1 billion euros) and consisting of 93% cash.
Barclays, which previously offered stock worth $50.04 (36.25 euros) per share, is now proposing a stock-and-cash blend worth some $93 billion (67.5 billion euros), with cash constituting about 37%. In connection with the proposed bid, China Development Bank and Temasek Holdings will invest in significant amounts of new Barclays shares, and have committed to buying substantially more contingent on merger completion.
Barclays was up $1.72 to $60.35, while ABN shares lost 6 cents to $50.72, both are components of the
Financial Sector Index. The tracker added 0.2% to 9,555.59.
In analyst-propelled action, Stifel Nicolaus upped auto insurer
to hold from sell, citing valuation. Shares traded 2.4% higher to $22. The broker also upgraded
Fifth Third Bancorp
, which traded actively and was lately up 6 cents to $38.75.
gained 2% after a Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst said subprime-mortgage-related concerns regarding the insurer are greatly exaggerated. He raised the Armonk, N.Y., firm's rating to market outperform. And
added 1% to $93.08 on a Lehman Brothers upgrade to overweight.
On the losing side, however, were several names hit by downgrades.
was cut to market perform from buy at Punk Ziegel, which said the bank is particularly likely to suffer from price-earnings-multiple erosion due to a weakening balance sheet. Among other things, the analyst pointed to its burgeoning ratio of non-performing assets which, he noted, has sustained four quarterly increases.
Wachovia shares were down 2% to $49. The North Carolina-based bank was recently the worst-performing component of the KBW Bank Index, which was sinking 0.3% at 111.16 to underperform the major indices.
Citizens Republic Bancorp
lost 1.6% after Boenning & Scattergood cut the Michigan bank to market perform from market outperform. Elsewhere, Lehman Brothers lowered Wisconsin's
to underweight, citing stiff competition and other broad-market effects. Associated shares sank $1.11, or 3.5%, to $30.21.