inflation numbers kept pressure on most financial stocks Friday, as they did for the rest of the market, but a few names managed to linger in positive territory. Goldman Sachs ( GS - Get Report), for instance, was climbing 2.2% to $213 after The Wall Street Journal reported that some of its traders' bets against risky mortgage-backed securities helped the brokerage to bring in nearly $4 billion in profits in the year ended Nov. 30, which would far more than offset its projected mortgage-related losses of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. And, a day after Citigroup ( C - Get Report) set plans to bail out its $58 billion in troubled structured investment vehicles (SIVs), Goldman upped its debt rating to outperform, per Reuters, voicing confidence that the banking giant will retain its AA ratings at credit rating agencies. Moody's today downgraded Citi's long-term debt rating by a notch but said the SIV move had had no bearing on that, and Standard & Poor's concurred on that point while taking no action. Citi stock sank out of the gate but, recently, it was up 1.7% at $31.53. Meanwhile, online brokers and trading platforms continued to benefit from the market's late volatility. Charles Schwab ( SCHW - Get Report) said November daily average trades surged 36% from a year ago, and 8% sequentially, to 344,000. Total client assets at the end of that month vaulted 18% year over year to $1.446 trillion. Shares were up 31 cents, or 1.3%, to $24.48.
And commodities exchange Nymex ( NMX) set an "all time monthly record" for volume after November trades leapt 38% from last year to 1.685 million contracts. Shares of the New York company were substantially higher before pulling back to an 11-cent gain at $127.30. Fellow bourse IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE - Get Report), which deals in futures and commodities, announced that futures trading will only trade electronically from March onward, since that already goes for most of its traded futures. Open-outcry futures trading will cease at the end of February, though that traditional method will continue regarding options on futures. Shares were up 4.7% at $189.32. Elsewhere, Fannie Mae ( FNM) Chief Daniel Mudd told shareholders at an annual meeting that he doesn't expect the struggling housing market to turn a corner until late 2009, according to several published reports. Still, the firm's stock was lately up 2.5%. More broadly, however, the NYSE Financial Sector Index and the KBW Bank Index each lost 1%. The narrower Amex Securities Broker-Dealer Index, lately boosted by Schwab, Goldman, and several of its other components, was up 0.6%. Among the financial losers was Colonial Bancgroup ( CNB), which slid 7.3% to $13.71 after a Bank of America analyst started coverage on the Alabama-based bank with a sell rating. BofA also cut Milwaukee's Marshall & Ilsley ( MI) to neutral from buy, partly on worries regarding credit deterioration in its residential real-estate portfolio, per Marketwatch. Shares of the bank were lately off 2.4%. Also in the red recently were bond insurer MBIA ( MBI - Get Report), which lost 5.5% to $27.90; Cleveland bank National City ( NCC), down 3.6% to $16.80; and New York Community Bancorp ( NYB), which was off 59 cents, or 3.3%, to $17.40.