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Sector Update: Financial

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 9/18/2013 3:52:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: BNFT

Financial stocks turned sharply higher today with the NYSE Financial Sector Index advancing 1.6% while the S&P Financial 100 Index is ahead 1.0%.

In company news, Benefitfocus ( BNFT ) is ending its first day as a public company with its stock price nearly double where it started, rising over 95% to $51.81 in late trade after reaching an intra-day high of $54 a share.

Shares of the subscription-based service company helping employers better manage their health, dental, life and insurance benefit plans.

The company priced its initial public offering of 4.94 million shares of its common stock at $26.50 each, topping its expected price range of $21.50 to $24.50 a share. The IPO included selected shareholders selling 1.94 million of their shares.

In other sector news,

(+) NRZ, Boosts Q3 dividend by 25% over the prior quarter to $0.175 per share, payable Oct. 31 to shareholders of record on Sept. 27.

(-) GBL, Cut to Underperform from Buy at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, citing price appreciation and valuation. GBL was up 31.3% since the start of the year through yesterday's close, climbing to a new 52-week high during the session.