NEW YORK ( TheStreet)-- Financial stocks rose Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 12,000 mark for the second consecutive session but struggled to stay there.

The Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) gained 9 cents, rising to $16.49.

Goldman Sachs ( GS) was a standout, surging $2.56 to $163.87 after a report said the bank is concerned about a buildup of risk in the financial system as hedge funds and new derivatives-clearing facilities gain importance in the wake of regulatory changes. In addition, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission said in its report released Thursday that Goldman reaped a gain of $3 billion for its own account related to credit-default swaps covered by the bailout of American International Group ( AIG).

AIG shares also rose Thursday, adding 38 cents at $41.99 after the company announced it appointed two executives to oversee its risk-forecasting on Thursday. In addition, the insurer 's former chairman, Harvey Golub said that AIG should be broken up.

First Niagara Financial Group ( FNFG) shares rose 30 cents to $14.32 on news that the bank's board has approved plans to raise its quarterly dividend to 16 cents a share. The bank also reported fourth-quarter net income of $49.7 million, or 24 cents a share.

Decliners among the big names in the sector included Wells Fargo ( WFC), which ticked six cents lower to $32.39, and Bank of America ( BAC), which lost a nickel to $13.50.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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