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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- Banks stocks have been hitting lows not seen since 2009 in recent sessions, the rally on Monday offering only a small relief to shareholders.
Bank analysts have been slashing their estimates and price targets for the sector, as uncertainties surrounding European debt crisis and mortgage-related litigation continue to persist, while the impact of regulatory changes and a prolonged low-interest rate cycle might play out over several quarters.
Still, industry observers are quick to point out that the sector is much healthier than it was at the depth of the financial crisis. Banks have much stronger capital and liquidity levels now and have significantly tightened underwriting standards in recent years, which means they are better placed to cope with an economic downturn.
>>10 Banks on Solid Financial Footing
Indeed, the stock of
Bank of America(BAC - Get Report), that has been heavily battered over the past year, is still trading 100% higher than it did on March 6, 2009, when the KBW Bank Index bottomed.
Citigroup(C - Get Report),
Wells Fargo(WFC) and
U.S. Bancorp(USB) have delivered returns of 142%, 175% and 163% respectively over the period.
Fifth Third Bancorp(FITB) is up nearly eight-fold.
Of the 22 U.S. banks that have assets greater than $25 billion, only
five banks now trade at prices below the crisis levels of March 2009, based on data compiled from
Almost all of them figured in
TheStreet's list of banks on a solid financial footing and in the list of banks paying a healthy dividend yield.
>>5 Banks With Over 6% Dividend Yield
Here are the five banks that still trade like its 2009.