NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- American International Group ( AIG) was among the top performers of the financial sector Monday after the insurer struck a deal to sell its Asian unit for $35.5 billion. AIG shares rallied after Prudential PLC ( PUK) said it will pay $25 billion in cash and $10.5 billion in new shares and other securities for AIG's American International Assurance subsidiary. The sale of the Asian unit is expected to help AIG repay bailout funds it has received from the U.S. government.
AIG shares were lately rising by $1.90, or 7.7%, to $26.67, although the insurer's stock is down more than 10% in 2010. On the other hand, Prudential PLC shares trading in New York were down 14.3% to $15.86. Most other insurer stocks were trading higher Monday. Prudential Financial ( PRU), which is based in the U.S. and is no relation to Prudential PLC in the U.K., gained 1.1% to $53.01, Lincoln National ( LNC) rose 1.1% to $25.45, and Hartford Financial ( HIG) tacked on 0.7% to $24.54. MetLife ( MET), however, dipped 0.1% to $36.37. European bank stocks were in focus after HSBC ( HBC) reported a full-year net profit of $5.83 billion, which rose from $5.73 billion in 2008 but was below analysts' targets. HSBC shares trading in New York dropped 7.1% to $51.03. Among other U.K. bank stocks, Lloyds Banking Group ( LYG) slid 7.1% to $3.02, Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS) was down 5.7% to $10.88, and Barclays ( BCS) lost 2.9% to $18.61. U.S. bank stocks weren't performing much better. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) fell 0.9% to $41.60 and Citigroup ( C) dipped 0.3% to $3.39. On the upside, Goldman Sachs ( GS) rose 0.5% to $157.05, Bank of America ( BAC) tacked on 0.3% to $16.71, Morgan Stanley ( MS) added 0.3% to $28.25, and Wells Fargo ( WFC) was up 0.2% to $27.38. -- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston. Follow Robert Holmes on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.