Thursday's Financial Winners & Losers

NovaStar Financial climbs on relief from Wachovia.
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Updated from 2:06 p.m. EST with new stock prices

Financial stocks once again forged higher on Thursday as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson detailed the

foreclosure stopgap plan he initially announced on Monday.

Mortgage lender

Countrywide

(CFC)

, which was reportedly among the firms meeting with regulators to formulate the plan, jumped 15.7% to $12.06. Financial guarantor

Ambac

(ABK)

ramped up 11.5%, and mortgage investors

Fannie Mae

(FNM)

and

Freddie Mac

(FRE)

rose 7.2% and 6.8%, respectively.

More news also emerged on Fannie's planned cash-boosting December offerings for

$7 billion in preferred stock, which the firm announced after market close on Tuesday. Per

Reuters

, the deal is attracting $30 billion in investor demand, according to investors familiar with it.

Mortgage insurers were also strongly on the rise amid today's hopeful mood.

PMI

(PMI)

,

MGIC

(MTG) - Get Report

and

MBIA

(MBI) - Get Report

were all up 8% or more.

MBIA additionally shot back after Moody's yesterday issued a

bearish preliminary outlook on the firm regarding its capital levels. The Armonk, N.Y., company emphasized that Moody's hadn't yet taken any rating actions yet, and said that it's been "pursuing capital contingency plans, even in the absence of any immediate rating agency requirements."

NovaStar Financial

(NFI)

, meanwhile, disclosed after market close Wednesday that

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

, in a letter dated Nov. 30, had agreed to waive through Dec. 7 a financing covenant that requires NovaStar to maintain a certain adjusted tangible net worth. Shares of the troubled subprime lender leapt 21.8% to $3.02. Wachovia was up 2.5%.

And Las Vegas ATM operator

Global Cash Access

(GCA)

, which earlier this month said it needed to delay its quarterly filing while investigating unspecified allegations by an anonymous individual, rocketed more than 58% to $4.86 after announcing it will finally discuss the situation in a conference call tomorrow afternoon.

News of the internal probe had sent GCA shares into a nosedive earlier this month before they made a partial next-day recovery that had since worn off, though today's gains brought shares back up to those levels again.

The

NYSE

Financial Sector Index, pulled higher by all but one of the above stocks, rose 2.2% at 8,824.00. The KBW Bank Index added 1.9% at 97.84.

But

IndyMac

(IMB)

was among those losing ground, shedding 8% after Chief Executive Mike Perry said in a regulatory filing that the mortgage lender likely won't become profitable again until the second half of 2008, and this only "if all goes well." He expects IndyMac's losses to narrow sequentially in each successive quarter, beginning in the current one, though he cautioned that it's difficult to say when exactly the company will return to profitability. Shares gave up 70 cents to $8.05.

Also among the decliners was

Old National Bancorp

(ONB) - Get Report

, which was cut to sell at Merrill Lynch. Shares lost 1.7%.

Merrill also slapped sell stickers on

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

and

M&T Bank

(MTB) - Get Report

while lowering both

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

and

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

to neutral -- moves that kept some pressure on the shares of those firms. Still, all closed higher: Wells was up 0.6% to $32.59, M&T added 0.8% to $90.78, Goldman rose 2% to $222.51, and Morgan gained 2.9% to $51.58.