Financial stocks benefited Wednesday by investor flight to the Old Economy, as Nasdaq stocks declined for the third straight day, though observers questioned whether the pattern truly signaled a change in fortunes for the sector.

In late-day trading, the Standard & Poor's index of 29 bank stocks was up 38.44, to 504.82, while the Dow was up 320.17, to 10131.41. The Nasdaq was down 124 for the day and 466 for the week.

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