Updated to reflect Warren Buffett's comments on Bank of America, TheStreet's poll results.
Hopes that the European crisis might not have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and expectations that there will be greater clarity on the regulatory front have helped turn the tide for bank stocks.
Other catalysts include banks' plans to return more capital to shareholders, policies addressing the housing market and of course an improving domestic economy.Still, the industry's worst is not behind it with banks continuing to be slapped with lawsuits and the sentiment in Washington towards Wall Street still largely hostile. TheStreet shortlisted the five banks that have rallied the most in 2012, focusing on banks that have an average trading volume of more than 500,000 and a market price greater than $1, to eliminate the more questionable names. The banks that have rallied in the last two months have largely been the weaker names, some of which are yet to repay government bailout money. However, their earnings upside could be significant if the economy strengthens. Here are the biggest winners in 2012, ranked in ascending order of year-to-date returns. 5. Popular
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