NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Coincidentally or not, the May 6 "flash crash" is shaping up as a good marker for when the current bearish mood took hold of the market. European woes have been a big factor in the sell-off, but a hardening of legislators' determination to take the banks to task for their role in wrecking the U.S. economy has also been a major influence, and bank stocks in general were weak again on Friday as Congress hammered away at reconciling separate House and Senate financial reform bills. >>>The Beginning of the End for Wall Street As a result, all 50 of the largest U.S. banks, not just giant ones with international exposure like Citigroup ( C) or Bank of America ( BAC) were down from May 5 through Tuesday of this week. The SPDR KBW Bank ETF ( KBE) is down more than 12% in that stretch.
TheStreet decided to look at the five banks that held up the best during that period, to see whether investors who expect a rebound but remain bearish should look to them as safe havens. If the weakness continues, these stocks will likely decline further, but their losses may be less severe. If the market turns, these stocks are likely to gain, though not by as much as some of the riskier names.