NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Financial stocks, along with the broader global markets, breathed a sigh of relief during Thursday's trading session despite weekly jobless claims number that came in weaker than expected.

Positive comments from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday that it would purchase $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds in an effort to stimulate the economy added wind to the sails for financial stocks.

The Financial Select Sector SPDR was climbing 1.6% higher on Thursday, to $14.96.

Two London-based banking giants seemed to be getting the largest pick up on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Barclays ( BCS) rose 3.3% to $18.70, while HSBC ( HBC) shares surged 5% to $56.62. HSBC said separately that it was selling its train rolling stock unit to a consortium group that included Morgan Stanley for $3.38 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The big four U.S. banking institutions were rising modestly. Bank of America ( BAC) shares, which have been troubled recently by the Charlotte-based company's exposure to mortgage putbacks, were rising 2.4% to $11.80.

Citigroup ( C) shares were trading 1.1% higher to $4.23. The stock hit the $5 level in late April, but retreated in late spring on industry concerns of financial reform and the global recovery. However, Citi shares seem to be gaining ground throughout the fall, particularly since its positive third-quarter earnings report on Oct. 18.

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JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo shares were climbing 1.3% and 2.3%, respectively.

Mortgage insurers Radian Group ( RDN), PMI Group ( PMI) and MGIC Investment ( MTG) were also seeing strong gains on Thursday. Earlier in the week, Radian posted its first profit in five years, boosting the other insurers as well.

A few financial stocks seemed stuck in the red on Thursday. Losers included two tax-service providers, H&R Block ( HRB) and Jackson Hewitt ( JTX).

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Laurie Kulikowski.

To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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