7. Regions Financial (RF)
Performance: up 52.6% (but still down 5.5% from year-end 2010)Company profile: Regional bank operating in the South, Midwest and Texas. Investor takeaway: Regions' stock jumped 7% after the Fed announced the bank passed the latest round of stress tests. Upon passage, the company successfully issued $900 million of stock to go toward repaying the remaining $3.5 billion in outstanding TARP funds the bank had on its balance sheet. Additionally, the company plans to complete the sale of its Morgan Keegan investment banking unit to Raymond James (RJF) in early April for $930 million. After the results of the stress tests were released, S&P upgraded the bank's debt rating to investment grade, given the improved capital positioning.
6. Priceline.com (PCLN) Performance: up 53.6% (up 79.8% from year-end 2010) Company profile: Global online travel company that allows customers to make hotel reservations, rent cars, and purchase airline tickets and vacation packages. Investor takeaway: Priceline.com has among the best sales growth in the online travel industry, and it hasn't weakened. International expansion over the next three to five years will be a key growth driver. To its advantage, Priceline operates a highly variable cost model and doesn't have the IT investments that other online travel sites do. The balance sheet is very strong, with cash per share of $42 at the end of the most recent quarter.
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