Financial stocks largely crowned the climbing broader market on Wednesday, and one of the biggest winners was XL Capital ( XL).

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), 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) 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) 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) 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.

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