Updated from 1:21 p.m. EDT
Citigroup ( C) was pacing the advancing issues, gaining 6% to $2.47. The other financials were mixed. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was up 4.3%, but American Express ( AXP) and Bank of America ( BAC) were falling.
Three of those stocks -- Citi, BofA and JPMorgan -- were initiated with perform ratings at Oppenheimer, the firm where Meredith Whitney used to take apart the banks. Financials weren't the only Dow components in the headlines, though. Home Depot ( HD) was among the percentage winners, adding 4.8% to $21.11, after Jefferies gave the home-improvement goods seller a buy rating and a $24 target. AT&T ( T) was better by 2.6% at $25 despite a decision by Standard & Poor's to cut its long-term outlook on the telecom company to negative from stable. General Electric ( GE) was tacking on 2.1% to $9.86 following comments from Oppenheimer that the conglomerate has manageable balance sheet risk and shouldn't need to raise new equity. As for General Motors ( GM), where advisers to bondholders and to President Obama's auto task force don't appear to be seeing completely eye to eye, its shares were down 4% at $2.42.