SunTrust Banks

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$16 billion regional bank SunTrust Banks ( STI) is a big name from the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic, with more than 1,650 branches spread throughout its geographic footprint. The Atlanta-based banking firm is in growth mode right now, after investors got hammered by losses and equity dilution in order to shove toxic debt off of the bank's balance sheet and repay TARP. Now that the pain is over, investors should be looking to gain in the latter part of 2012.

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After all, shares are already up more than 68% in so far this year. From a relative strength standpoint alone, this stock is already in prime position to push higher. Fundamentally, though, things look even better.

While SunTrust's exposure to markets like Florida, where housing is still struggling, was a big black mark on shares, the firm has benefitted more recently from an economic rebound in the region. The ability to grow its loan book at "new normal" values for its collateral should provide a nice backstop for STI's balance sheet going forward, and a more cost-conscious approach to banking is already showing up in the firm's widening net profit margins.

With analyst sentiment pushing higher this week, we're betting on shares.

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