Updated with closing prices
NEW YORK (
) -- Financial stocks were higher across the board Friday along with the broader market.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR
, a widely-followed exchange-traded fund, finished up 2.6% to $14.60.
Many commentators attributed the rise to bullish comments from hedge fund wizard David Tepper, who conducted an interview on
Though he has been well known on Wall Street trading desks for some time, Tepper earned wider recognition last year after a front page story in
The Wall Street Journal
chronicled how the former
distressed debt trader made $7 billion by buying huge slugs of
preferred shares and
Bank of America
common stock in February and March of last year, when the market hit multi-year lows and speculation was rife that the U.S. government might nationalize the banking system.
Citigroup dominated the news Friday among large bank stocks. First came a report Citigroup was being sued by Norway's central bank, which accused Citigroup of "repeated material untrue statements and non-disclosure of material information to investors," according to a report by
The New York Times
citing the complaint.
The U.S. District Court lawsuit argues the statements, made between Jan. 19 2007 and Jan. 15 2009 caused the central bank, called
, to overpay for Citigroup stock and bonds. Norges Bank is looking to recover more than $835 million in losses from the lawsuit, according to the report.
Named in the complaint, according to the
, are more than 20 current and former Citigroup executives, including CEO Vikram Pandit and Charles Prince, who held the title previously.
On a related note later in the day, the
reported that a judge accepted a $75 million settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission over Citigroup's failure to disclose the full extent of its subprime mortgage exposure in 2007. Citigroup put its exposure at $13 billion when in fact it was $50 billion.
Finally, Citigroup disclosed stock-based compensation for several top executives, including that CEO Vikram Pandit would take just $1.
In the end, Citigroup shares were in the middle of the pack among the big banks, finishing up 2.89% to $3.91--behind Bank of America, but ahead of
JPMorgan was the weakest among the four largest U.S. banks, up 1.71% to $39.77 following a prominent story in
The Wall Street Journal
about its attempt to take on
in the market for the wealthiest credit card users. Shares of American Express were up 1.77% to $43.11.
Among European banks, U.S.-listed shares of
were higher by 1.64% to $52.60 after the bank announced that CEO Michael Geoghegan would step aside to be replaced by global markets boss Stuart Gulliver. Douglas Flint will take over the chairmanship position vacated by Stephen Green, who stepped down earlier in the month to become U.K. trade minister.
U.S. life insurers also fared well Friday.
was among the leaders in the sector, up by 3.78% to $31.60. Shares of
finished up by 3.41% to $39.15, while
Hartford Financial Service Group
shares were up 3.84% to $22.69.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.