Updated from 1:46 p.m. EDT
again led the pack among financial winners Wednesday as most of the sector traded higher than the major indices.
After its stratospheric rise Tuesday, the California-based lender surged another 26.7% to $12.67 after Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings respectively shifted the stock to rate at "developing" and "evolving," from mutually negative previous ratings, on the heels of yesterday's
Also on the upswing was
Crescent Real Estate Equities
, a Texas-based real estate investment trust, climbing 3.2% to $22.31 in very active trading after
agreed to buy it for $22.80 a share in cash. The transaction totals around $6.5 billion including liability assumption, and it should close by the end of the third quarter. Morgan Stanley shares tacked on 1.4%, or $1.16, earlier in the day and closed up 12 cents to $85.75.
Among other rising financial stocks,
Marsh & McLennan
added 5% to $33.03 after its Guy Carpenter subsidiary appointed Charlie Fry as global chief operating officer, effective June 4. Insurance broker
and credit rating agency
bounced 2.5% and 6%, respectively.
All but one of these winners propped up the NYSE Financial Sector Index, which earlier gained 56.5 points, or 0.6%, to 9963.21, to outperform the major indices for the second straight session. It closed up slightly at 9907.55. The KBW Bank Index delivered a mixed showing and brought up the rear once again; it was down 0.2% at 117.67.
In the red, however, were several downgraded names. UBS cut several insurers to neutral from buy, and among the worst affected was
, which lately slid 5.4% to $15.49. Also lowered were
Nationwide Financial Services
Reinsurance Group of America
, all on valuation. Shares slumped 1.6%, 1.5% and 4.3% respectively in recent trading.
Keefe Bruyette meanwhile downgraded another insurer,
, to market perform from outperform. The downtick came shortly after Aon announced the imminent departure of chief financial officer Dave Bolger. Shares sunk 1.2% to $42.47.