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SunTrust Banks ( STI) pushed the Banking industry higher today making it today's featured banking winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, SunTrust Banks rose $1.33 (3.5%) to $39.34 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 8,409,833 shares of SunTrust Banks exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,556,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $38.74-$40.00 after having opened the day at $39.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.01. Other companies within the Banking industry that increased today were: OptimumBank Holdings ( OPHC), up 8.4%, Credit Suisse ( DGAZ), up 5.2%, Southside ( SBSI), up 5.0% and First United ( FUNC), up 4.1%.

SunTrust Banks, Inc. operates as the holding company for SunTrust Bank that provides various financial services in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Consumer Banking and Private Wealth Management, Wholesale Banking, and Mortgage Banking. SunTrust Banks has a market cap of $20.6 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate SunTrust Banks a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 14 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates SunTrust Banks as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Credit Suisse ( UGAZ), down 5.1%, Broadway Financial ( BYFC), down 5.0%, Baylake ( BYLK), down 4.5% and First BanCorp ( FBP), down 4.1% , were all laggards within the banking industry with M&T Bank ( MTB) being today's banking industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the banking industry could consider KBW Bank ETF ( KBE) while those bearish on the banking industry could consider ProShares Short KBW Regional Bankng ( KRS).

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