Financials Lead Gains Amid Market Optimism -- Financials Roundup

Banks, lenders and other financial companies led broader market gains as some analysts and investors said signs of improvement in the global economy and corporate earnings will likely continue to support markets.

"As long as earnings are strong and the economic backdrop good, I'm still cautiously optimistic," said Susan Bao, portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Exchange operators were among Wednesday's biggest gainers. Intercontinental Exchange rose 3.4%, CME Group gained 2.5% and CBOE Holdings added 2.4%. Nasdaq rose 2%.

Banco Santander SA acquired Spanish rival Banco Popular Espanol SA in an overnight auction for the nominal amount of EUR1 ($1.13) after the European Central Bank determined the ailing lender was near collapse, providing a test of Europe's banking rules enacted after the financial crisis. The overnight acquisition of Banco Popular marks a swift and decisive response by the European Union to stop the downward spiral of Spain's most troubled big bank.

In other news, U.S. consumer borrowing decelerated in April to a 2.58% annual rate, marking the slowest pace of growth since August 2011, Federal Reserve data showed.

Separately, roughly three million potential first-time home buyers have been shut out of the market over the last decade, according to a new study by Genworth Mortgage Insurance, suggesting the market's recovery of the past few years could have been stronger. Tight lending standards and acute shortages of affordable housing in many markets have reduced the pool of potential buyers, particularly among young people, reducing a key component of housing demand.

Blackstone Group LP, one of the world's largest private real-estate investors, has closed a EUR7.8 billion fund that will focus on European commercial real estate, the largest of its kind ever raised.

Amy Pessetto,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 07, 2017 18:42 ET (22:42 GMT)