Financial stocks largely crowned the climbing broader market on Wednesday, and one of the biggest winners was

XL Capital

(XL) - Get Report

.

The Bermuda-based insurer jumped 6.7% to $78.70 after trouncing first-quarter estimates, reporting income of $543.4 million, or $3.03 a share (excluding items), vs. Wall Street's $2.13-per-share estimates, as per Thomson Financial. Another Bermudian insurer,

Ace

(ACE)

, rose 3.7% to $60.86 after handily topping bottom-line expectations.

The

NYSE

Financial Sector Index, of which XL is a component, was recently leaping 87.71 points, or 0.9%, to 9843.75. The KBW Bank Index climbed 0.7% to 116.61.

Dime Community Bancshares

(DCOM) - Get Report

, of Brooklyn, N.Y., gained 6% to $13.65 after edging out first-quarter targets with 17-cent-per-share earnings, and

Ameriprise Financial

(AMP) - Get Report

added 1.8% to $60.93 after the asset manager reported adjusted income of $220 million, or 90 cents a share. This is 20% higher than last year and beats estimates by 2 cents.

Elsewhere in positive-earnings territory,

New York Community Bancorp

( NYB) added 0.5% to $17.75 after meeting first-quarter operating-earnings estimates; credit-rating agency

Moody's

(MCO) - Get Report

was up 0.9% to $68.57 on a 4-cent-per-share beat.

Meanwhile, Dutch bank

ABN Amro

( ABN) -- which had lost value on the

NYSE

since Britain's

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

agreed to buy it on Monday -- more than recovered after receiving a

rival bid

of $52.96 a share from a group lead by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Shares were up $2.28, or 4.8%, to $49.68.

California's

Desert Community Bank

( DCBK) saw a huge trading-volume spike and surged 20% after

East West Bancorp

(EWBC) - Get Report

agreed to buy it in a cash-and-stock deal worth $24 a share, or about $142.6 million, that should close by the third quarter. Desert Community Bank was up $3.85 to $23.15; East West was recently up 0.5% to $40.16.

Credit-services firm

Asset Acceptance Capital

( AACC) soared 14.6% after announcing a $75 million share-repurchase program and a one-off dividend worth at least $75 million, and Cleveland-based

National City

( NCC) added another $1.6 billion to its buyback program. The bank was rising 59 cents, or 1.6%, to $37.86.

First Marblehead

(FMD)

also announced a buyback plan for 10 million of its shares (including about 3.4 million previously authorized), but the student lender's stock quickly dropped off after an initial spike out of the gate this morning. Shares lately were sinking 3.9% to $35.86.

Other financial-sector losers today include insurance broker

Arthur J. Gallagher

(AJG) - Get Report

, which was off 3.6% to $27.94 after recording first-quarter gains of only $19.8 million, or 20 cents a share -- 6 cents short of targets.

Waddell & Reed Financial

(WDR) - Get Report

slid 4.1% to $24.09 after missing per-share projections by a penny, and

Hilb Rogal & Hobbs

( HRH), an insurance broker, plunged 8.1% after first-quarter profits retreated 2.7% year over year to $25.2 million, or 69 cents a share. Shares recently lost $3.99 to $45.01.