Citigroup: Financial Winners and Losers

Citigroup was among the best performers of the financial sector Friday, rising after reports the bank has restarted efforts to unload its Japanese call center.
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(

Updated with stock price moves throughout

.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was among the best performers of the financial sector Friday, rising 6.5% after reports the bank has restarted efforts to unload its Japanese call center.

The Wall Street Journal

reported Friday that Citi's Japanese private equity arm has resumed its effort to sell Bellsystem24, the country's largest call center company by market share. The first round of bidding for Bellsystem24, valued at $1.5 billion by Citi, will close on Sept. 1, the report said, citing a person familiar with the deal.

Citigroup shares were lately rising 29 cents to $4.77, bringing the five-day rally near 20%.

In other bank news,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

is planning to hire as many as 400 traders and sales people, according to a

Reuters

report, as the firm moves to compete better with rival

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

.

Reuters

late Thursday reported that Morgan Stanley had hired about half of the 400 planned additions to work across sales and trading, citing a source familiar with the plan. Morgan Stanley wants the workers for its foreign exchange, emerging markets and equity derivatives businesses, the report said.

Morgan Stanley shares were up 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $29.46. Goldman, meanwhile, was up 1.7% to $164.75.

Among other bank stocks,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

added 2.7%,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was higher by 2% and

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

rose 1.7%.

Regional bank stocks were also jumping Friday.

Regions Financial

(RF) - Get Report

was higher by 6.6%,

Citizens Republic Bancorp

(CRBC)

rose 5.4%,

Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

climbed 5%, and

Huntington Bancshares

(HBAN) - Get Report

tacked on 2.7%

Elsewhere,

American International Group

(AIG) - Get Report

shares rose 2.4% after the insurer won dismissal of a $1 billion lawsuit that claimed AIG shortchanged state workers' compensation pools. Shares added 78 cents to $33.08.

Guaranty Financial

(GFG)

reversed an early slide despite reports the bank would be shut down by regulators Friday.

The Wall Street Journal

Thursday reported that sources "familiar with the matter," saying that

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria

(BBC) - Get Report

was the likely winner of a government auction of Guaranty's branches and deposits.

Guaranty shares were lately up 3 cents, or 9.7%, to 34 cents.

--

Written by Robert Holmes in New York

.