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Will European banking stocks rally on the prospect of EU reforms?

By James Dennin for Kapitall.

Some crazy stuff went down in Europe over the weekend as the Union held elections for its new parliament.

Some 30% of the seats currently held in the EU are held by people who hate the EU. Many of the new seats belong to such fiercely far-right and nationalist parties that uncomfortable comparisons to Europe's past are hard to avoid. 

And yet, there's also good reason to be optimistic. Though frustration with the Eurozone couldn't be more clear, there is still a strong 70% pro-Eurozone majority in the parliament that should be capable of passing new reforms. 

The concerns of anti-Euro activists are legitimate. When a group as large and diverse as Europe shares the same currency, the countries that do well tend to do even better at the expense of the countries that aren't. Germany has an economy that's performed extremely well in the wake of the crisis. Its economy is growing quickly, and its people are among the richest in the world, relying heavily on exports. 

But since it shares a currency with the rest of the economies of Europe, its goods don't get more expensive. Before the Euro, boom times made your currency get stronger, making goods from other countries relatively cheaper. That doesn't happen anymore and it's one of many explanations for Southern Europe's prolonged stagnation. 

This, coupled with wide-spread concerns over deflation means many eyes will be on the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday. Will the continent's leaders be able to implement reforms quickly enough?

One of the most obvious beneficiaries of reform would be the banking sector, which has still lagged since the crisis. There are some signs, however, that banking is starting to turn around, so we screened the European banking stocks for rallying companies by looking at  quarterly performance and their simple moving average.

When a company is rallying above its 20-day, 50-day, and 200-day simple moving average (SMA 20, 50, 200), it is probably rallying. Will these four stocks continue to perform well once economic reforms are pushed through? Let us know what you think in the comments.  

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

1. ACE Limited ( ACE, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides a range of insurance and reinsurance products to insureds worldwide. Market cap at $32.99B, most recent closing price at $96.79.

SMA 20: .87%

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