(Updated with final stock price moves throughout, paragraph on AmEx's repurchase of warrants.) NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Financial stocks were mixed Wednesday after a weaker-than-expected report on durable goods orders had investors rotating out of industrial stocks into bank stocks, with Citigroup ( C) among the top performers. The Census Bureau said June durable goods orders fell 2.5%, well below the consensus estimate of a 0.5% decline. Excluding transportation, though, the 1.1% rise was much better than economists expected. Still, industrial stocks including Caterpillar ( CAT) and General Electric ( GE) sold off on the news. Citigroup, on the other hand, rose 8.4% to close at $3.22 after reports Sumitomo Trust & Banking agreed to buy Citigroup's Nikko Asset Management for roughly 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in October. The Nikkei newspaper reported the deal Wednesday without saying where it got the information, according to Bloomberg. Sumitomo Trust will likely increase Nikko Asset's capital through a preferred share sale after the acquisition, the report said. Many other bank stocks also ended Wednesday's session with gains. Bank of America ( BAC) was higher by 1.4% at $13.52 and Wells Fargo ( WFC) tacked on 0.1% to $24.54. On the losing side, Banco Santander ( STD) shares fell 1.7% after the Spanish bank posted second-quarter earnings that exceeded estimates. The company said net profit dropped 4% from a year ago to 2.42 billion euros, beating analysts' expectations for a net profit of 2.18 billion euros. Banco Santander also said it expects earnings in the second half of 2009 to be in line with the first half of the year. It also reiterated its full-year target of a net profit of 8.88 billion euros, matching last year's performance. On the downside, the bank said net loan-loss provisions in the first half of 2009 rose 60.6% to 4.6 billion euros.
Meanwhile, The Financial Times reported that Banco Santander has appointed advisers to spin off its Brazilian business in an initial public offering that could raise at least 2.6 billion euros. Banco Santander shares closed down by 23 cents at $13.86. In other earnings news, Japan's top brokerage Nomura Holdings reported its first profit in six quarters as global markets rebounded and its retail and asset management businesses generated stable revenue. Nomura reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 11.4 billion yen ($121.1 million). The loss a year earlier was a record 76.6 billion yen after the company incurred costs related to buying parts of Lehman Brothers. Net revenue in the quarter more than doubled to 298.4 billion yen. With the return to profitability, Nomura shares in the U.S. finished 25 cents higher at $8.85. Among other losing stocks, Discover Financial ( DFS) slid 2.2% to $11.67 after Goldman Sachs removed it from its conviction buy list based on valuation. The firm said Discover remains a buy, and upgraded its price target to $14 from $12, but argued that the current entry point is unattractive. Elsewhere, American International Group ( AIG) fell 2.3%, Goldman Sachs ( GS) slipped 1.3%, and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) dipped 0.8%. On the winning side, Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) rose 4% to $8.90 after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its conviction buy list. American Express ( AXP) was another winner, climbing 0.3% to $27.75, after the company said it paid the U.S. government $340 million to repurchase warrants associated with government bailout funds it received earlier this year.
-- Reported by Robert Holmes in New York.