The most important factor in Capital One's strong performance this year, with two large mergers pending, not to mention regulatory challenges to earnings for all large banks, the enhanced Basel III capital requirements, and a third round of Federal Reserve stress tests looming, is the company's outstanding earnings performance. Capital One's renewed commitment to its core competency in credit card lending portends continued earnings improvement as the company integrates its two acquisitions over the next year. And that should continue to propel the shares forward. -- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla. To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn. -- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla. To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn. To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/PhilipvanDoorn.