Financial stocks climbed back near break-even in late Friday trading, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index declining less than 0.1% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were finishing with a less than 0.1% advance.

In company news, Apollo Global Management (APO) turned slightly lower in late Friday trading, giving back early gains that followed reports the investment company is looking to be the lone bidder when Unilever NV (UN, UL) puts its $8 billion margarine and spreads business up for auction later this month.

Other potential participants in the Oct. 19 auction include three rival consortiums of Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice in one group, Blackstone (BX) and CVC Capital in a rival group and KKR (KKR) in a group with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, according to Reuters, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the matter.

The report also said industry players such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) have decided against bidding.

In other sector news,

(+) GDOT, Craig Hallum begins analyst coverage with a Buy investment recommendation and a $70 price target.

(-) TBK, Stock rating cut to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffrey.

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