#8: Regions Financial
YTD Performance: +76%
Banking stocks have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in 2012, with much-maligned stocks like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) actually outperforming the market significantly this year. But regional banks in particular have been very strong and have powered the financial sector to new highs.
Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) is one of the largest regional banks out there, with a nearly $11 billion market cap and more than 1,700 locations across the south and southeast.
RF has been in tough shape, recording losses for each of the past four fiscal years as it has struggled to rebuild capital levels and credit quality. Its loan portfolio in many ways was as bad or worse as the big boys thanks to very high unemployment and crashing housing prices particular to the areas that Regions serves. South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi all boast 9%-plus rates of joblessness.
But RF is on track to turn a profit at long last for fiscal 2012 and seems to be turning things around. That message of hope has resonated with investors, who have bid up the stock strongly year-to-date.