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No. 8: Banco Santander

Banco Santander STDReturn as of 3/30: +2%
Jim Jubak

After running the stock up to double-digit gains in the first couple months of 2012, European bank Banco Santander (NYSE:STD) finally slowed down and finished Q1 with just 2% gains.

While the Greek debt debacle reached at least some sort of resolution, and while European stocks have enjoyed a bit of a rally this year, Spanish stocks of late have taken a drubbing amid that country’s own fiscal difficulties.

Banco Santander in particular could have difficulties this year as the bank continues to shore up property assets and sets aside provisional money to meet regulators’ capital ratio requirements. Still, it has proven able to unload some of its bad assets, reporting recently that it had sold about 1.5 billion euros’ worth of bad loans to a number of American investment companies.

Banco Santander at least could see some interest as a bargain play, with its sub-$8 pricing around three-year lows. And while on a shaky precipice, it has a banner dividend yield of about 11%. But again, if trouble continues to shake Spain or the rest of Europe, STD could have more tough goings ahead.

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