NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Financial stocks were up Friday ahead of a big earnings week, when JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Bank of America ( BAC) and Citigroup ( C) will all report their second-quarter numbers to investors. Investor sentiment on the whole market appears to have changed in the latter part of this week, with the S&P 500 closing higher for the fourth straight session Friday. Financial stocks, which comprise an important part of that index, have participated in the rise. The recent positive sentiment in financial stocks comes in spite of weak May consumer credit data from the Federal Reserve, released an hour before the market closed Thursday afternoon. Revised data for April showed credit available to consumers fell by $14.9 billion, instead of the $1 billion gain that had originally been announced. In May, consumer credit fell by another $9.1 billion, worse than economists had been forecasting. "There is simply no way to spin this data, nor the past few months, as anything other than confirmation that the consumer has not come roaring back," wrote Miller Tabak chief economic strategist Dan Greenhaus, in a report published Friday.
Nonetheless, nearly all bank stocks were higher, and while there was no clear standout among the money-center names on Friday, the top performer over the past several days has been Citigroup. Citigroup's stock closed up 1.76% to $4.04, about 5% above both its 50- and 200-day moving averages. Adding to the good news for Citigroup was the fact that its much-maligned CEO, Vikram Pandit, seems to be finally getting some plaudits, with Euromoney magazine naming him its banker of the year. Other big bank stocks were mostly below both their 50- and especially their 200-day moving averages. While JPMorgan closed 1.59% below its 50-day moving average, it was still 6.16% below its 200-day moving average. JPMorgan shares were up 1.81% to close at $38.85 Friday. Goldman Sachs ( GS) shares, recovering from a sharp estimate cut by well-known bank analyst Meredith Whitney on Thursday, were up 1.92% to $137.33. Still, they remained just 0.38% above their 50-day moving average and 11.54% below their 200-day moving average. As for the other big banks, Bank of America shares were up 1.68% to $15.11, Wells Fargo ( WFC) was up 1.35% to $27, and Morgan Stanley's stock was up 2.07% to close at $24.70.
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Beyond the banks, one notable gainer was Fortress Investment Group ( FIG). Shares of the private equity firm were up more than 7.21% Friday to $3.57, following a similar outsized gain by private equity giant The Blackstone Group ( BX) on Thursday. Blackstone's shares were up again Friday, adding 3.24% to close at $10.50. The strength in shares of private equity firms comes as deal activity appears to be showing signs of life, and as legendary buyout kings Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts prepare for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange next week. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York.