Financial stocks slipped lower than the rest of the market Monday as Goldman Sachs dispersed negative research that knocked down several names.

NYSE Euronext ( NYX) was cut to sell while commodities exchange Chicago Board of Trade ( BOT) and broker GFI Group ( GFIG) were each downgraded to neutral from buy. NYSE was hardest hit, recently losing 5.3% to $87.45; CBOT eased by 2% to $193.32; and GFI gave up 3.1% to $67.54 in unusually high trading volume.

The NYSE Financial sector index, which counts among its components CBOT and the NYSE itself, lately fell 0.5% to $52.82. Bank of America ( BAC), another NYSE Financial component, helped weigh down that index along with the KBW Bank tracker after confirming it will buy ABN Amro's ( ABN) LaSalle Bank unit for $21 billion. BofA retreated 1.1% to $50.48 as the KBW index slid 0.7% at 116.36.

Dutch-based ABN also announced today that it will sell itself to Britain-based Barclays ( BCS) for $91 billion. Both banks traded lower on the NYSE today: Barclays was off by 2% to $58.79, and ABN fell 1.7% to $48.46.

Asset manager Fortress ( FIG) lost 3% at $30.64 on word it's leading a group to buy transportation-equipment lessor Interpool ( IPX) for $27.10 a share. The deal, valued at $2.4 billion including debt assumption, should close in the third quarter. Interpool shares were lately up 4.2% to $26.66.

As for earnings news, Missouri's Independent Bank ( IBCP) logged one of the sector's biggest percentage losses today after first-quarter profits took a nosedive to 19 cents a share from last year's 53 cents. 2007 guidance was also cut by at least 30 cents to range between $1.20 and $1.40 a share. Its stock plunged 14% to $16.54.

Synovus' ( SNV) first-quarter profits rose from last year, but they missed average targets by a penny, according to Thomson Financial. Shares were down 1.7% at $32.73.

On the other hand, Illinois-based Wintrust Financial ( WTFC) and Western Alliance Bancorp ( WAL) of Las Vegas both jumped after squaring with first-quarter estimates. Wintrust gained 5.2% at $45.34; Western Alliance rose 2.2% to $32.40.

Elsewhere, Merrill Lynch upped Goldman Sachs ( GS) to buy along with a few other big brokers, citing Goldman as the strongest of the lot. Shares lifted by 0.8% to $221.76. Goldman, meanwhile, raised Nasdaq Stock Market ( NDAQ) to buy from neutral, boosting the exchange's shares by 3.6% to $33.28.

Among other financial winners today, Encore Capital ( ECPG) jumped more than 8% after J.C. Flowers and FPK Capital agreed to buy a quarter of the loan purchaser's shares for the largest single stake; Red Mountain Capital has already bought a 15% stake. Shares were up 89 cents to $11.65 in recent trading.

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