Updated from 1:53 p.m. EDT

Financial stocks were climbing higher than most ahead of this Tuesday's highly anticipated rate-cut decision from the Federal Reserve, and individual names like Lehman Brothers ( LEH) also helped to lighten the mood.

The broker's shares gained 10% to $64.49 on third-quarter earnings that were better than expected , if slightly lower than last year -- $870 million, or $1.54 a share, vs. Thomson Financial's $1.47 average per-share estimate. Chief Financial Officer Chris O'Meara also delivered some soothing comments this morning, intoning that the "worst of credit correction is behind us."

Lehman helped give legs to the NYSE Financial Sector Index, which jumped 348.8 points, or 3.9%, to around 9226.

Capital One ( COF) bolstered the index, as well, after announcing it intends on paying out some 25% of its 2008 income in fixed quarterly dividends. Shares spiked 6.9% to $69.73 as the KBW Bank Index, of which the credit-card company is also a member, gained 4.6% to about 110.5.

Fellow credit-card concern American Express ( AXP) added 4.5% to $60.80 after Standard Chartered agreed to buy its international banking unit for about $1.1 billion. The exact value of the transaction, which should close in the first quarter, is the net asset value of the unit's businesses at the closing date plus $300 million.

Among few financial losers today was online broker E*Trade ( ETFC), which said it will exit or restructure "non-core businesses that lack a direct and strategic connection with its retail customers," including a departure from wholesale mortgage. E*Trade deflated its 2007 guidance to between $1.05 and $1.15 a share (on a GAAP basis), citing the restructuring and an increased loan-loss provision. The prior range had been $1.53 to $1.67 a share.

Shares sank 21 cents, or 1.5%, to $14.

If you liked this article you might like

Lackluster Finish for U.S. Stocks

Lackluster Finish for U.S. Stocks

Stocks Continue to Waver at the Flat Line

Stocks Continue to Waver at the Flat Line

Oil Slides as Stocks Post a Mixed Showing

Oil Slides as Stocks Post a Mixed Showing

Stocks Flutter Near the Flat Line

Stocks Flutter Near the Flat Line

Wall Street Falls Amid Inflation Talk

Wall Street Falls Amid Inflation Talk