Banks Boost Global Indices to New Highs

US dollars and Euros
Maria Toutoudaki | Photodisc | Getty Images
US dollars and Euros

Financial companies in the U.S. and abroad pushed major indices to new highs this week, boosting the S&P 500 to the highest level since May 2008.

The S&P Financial sector is having its best week since early December, propelling the sector past technology, and reclaiming the top spot this year, up about 21 percent.

Financials powered higher this week after the Federal Reserve’s stress test showed that 15 out of 19 of America’s biggest banks passed. Bank of America was among those 15 companies. In fact, shares of BofA, which plunged 58 percent in 2011, are now up 74 percent this year.

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Abroad, Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC, and the UK’s FTSE all closed at their highest levels since July, with the region’s insurers among Friday’s biggest gainers. The iShares MSCI Europe Financials Sector Index Fund , an ETF that mainly tracks banks and insurance companies, also rallied to summer highs, with many of its components up more than 20 percent for the year.