Goldman: Financial Winners and Losers

( Updated with AIG clarification, Morgan Stanley news, stock price refresh.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Goldman Sachs ( GS) was among the winners of the financial sector Wednesday after a bank analyst said the stock "should be owned."

Goldman Sachs was lately up 2.2% to $180.44 after Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove said the bank is so good even though it makes "terrible errors as often as perhaps many others" because it knows how to recover from those mistakes.

"In 44 years of analyzing and writing about stocks, I have never encountered a company as well managed as Goldman Sachs," Bove wrote in his research note. "It is the best I have ever seen despite its brush with disaster in the fourth quarter last year. This is the reason to own this stock."

On the other hand, Morgan Stanley ( MS) slipped 0.2% to $33.64 even after Bove said in a separate note that "the longer term outlook for the company may be the best it has ever been."

"For years now the biggest complaint that I have had about Morgan Stanley is that the company was never committed to a solid strategic plan. This no longer seems to be the case," Bove wrote. "The new teams being put in place to run this company seem to have developed a long term plan and, just as important, a commitment to execute this plan through cycles."

Elsewhere, American International Group ( AIG) shares fell after reports CEO Robert Benmosche is fed up with government control over the insurer.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Benmosche is considering stepping down as he is upset over constraints being placed on the insurance company by the U.S. government. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, says Benmosche told directors at a board meeting last week that he was "done" but agreed to think it over after other board members expressed shock at his announcement.

CNBC reported Wednesday afternoon that Benmosche said he is "totally committed to leading AIG" in a memo to employees, helping AIG shares retrace most of their losses. Shares were still lower by 0.9% to $37.27, having fallen as low as $36.02 earlier in the session.

Elsewhere, Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C) and American Express ( AXP) traded higher one day after executives at each company offered remarks at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch banking and financial services conference.

AmEx Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault said the company's customers sparked a rise in absolute dollars in October, and reported billing was up 3% last month, according to a Dow Jones report.

Citigroup Vice Chairman Ned Kelly said the bank plans to repay government bailout funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program as quickly as possible.

Also, outgoing BofA CEO Ken Lewis said the integration of Merrill Lynch is running ahead of schedule and will generate more expense savings in 2009 than the bank had originally anticipated.

BofA was climbing by 2.3% to $16.40, AmEx was rising 0.8% to $39.99, and Citigroup tacked on 0.5% to $4.20.

Among other bank stocks, Wells Fargo ( WFC) was higher by 2% to $28.66 while JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) slipped 0.1% to $44.13.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York.

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