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Financial Stocks Roundup: Bernanke Says Credit Is Still Tight


Financial stocks ended their losing streak.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Financial stocks improved today, reversing several days of losses. The KBW Bank Index (^BKX) rose 1.10%, outperforming the S&P 500. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) gained 0.77%.

The sector showed gains after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made some comments about banking in Chicago.

"Conditions in the banking system - and the financial sector more broadly - have improved significantly in the past few years," Bernanke said. "Banks have also been navigating an economic recovery that has been halting at times."

Bernanke said that banks still have "more to do" to adapt to the new conditions, and credit is still tight.

"The condition of the banking system is improving, demand for credit generally has remained sluggish, and the creditworthiness of some borrowers that would normally turn to banks for loans remains impaired," the chairman said.

Spanish banks got a boost in the markets after the government injected capital into Bankia, essentially nationalizing the bank. Banco Santander (STD) shares rose 5.5% after the Spanish government took action.

Shares of Prudential Financial (PRU) made gains of 1.32% after Morgan Stanley (MS) upgraded the stock.

Of the biggest US banks, Wells Fargo (WFC) leads its peers, up 1.81%, in today's trading. Goldman Sachs (GS) is performing the worst, down 0.41%.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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