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3 Large Regional Bank Stocks That Are Crushing the Market

These financial stocks are bucking the trend by beating the market and their benchmark so far this year

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When it comes to financials so far in 2014, the larger regional bank stocks are clobbering their bigger cousins by a wide margin, as well as the market and their benchmark too.

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Big banks collectively had a decent quarterly earnings season — even if they had to keep juicing profits with accounting rules more than actual growth — but bank stocks have generated performances that are ho-hum to bad.

For example, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) stock is down 4% so far this year. Wells Fargo (WFC) stock is up, but only by 1.5%. Bank of America (BAC) stock is the only exception, up roughly 5% in 2014.

But the market hasn’t exactly been hot this year. A couple of ugly down days has the S&P 500 off more than 1% early in 2014.

But in a bright spot for financials, some of the larger regional bank stocks are quietly off to a great start in January. A solid earnings season has helped a lot. Heading into reporting season, the regional banks industry was projected to show the strongest growth in net interest income among financials, according to data from FactSet. Furthermore, provisions for loan losses continued to decline rapidly, and regional banks are showing the highest growth in loans.

For regional bank stocks as a whole, the year hasn’t been so good. The Regional Bank SPDR ETF (KRE) is off about 1%. But some regional banks stocks are bucking the trend with excellent gains. Here are three regional bank stocks leading financials so far this year:

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