Bank investors ushered in the new year on an optimistic note.

Citigroup Inc. was one of the sector's strongest gainers, rising 6.4%. The Treasury Department outlined a program Friday to insure the illiquid assets of certain financial institutions. In late November the Treasury announced that it would backstop $5 billion of Citi assets and provide it $20 billion of additional capital, which the New York company received Dec. 31.

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