NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With a composite gain of 13.42%, according to Fidelity Investments, 2014 was good year for bank stocks. The industry has outperformed both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 , which have gained 6.8% and 11%, respectively.
In fact, the 7.62% gain in the KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) , which also outpaced the Dow's performance, is another example of how well investors have done in 2014 by depositing their faith in banks. But can this continue?
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Let's first take a look at the four major banks.
The chart below shows how volatile Citigroup (C) (up 5.4%), Bank of America (BAC) (up 13%) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) (up 5.8%) have traded in 2014.
At various times of the year, each were either up or down by double-digit percentage points. Well Fargo's (WFC) stock movement, meanwhile, has been fairly consistent. By being up 21% for 2014, Wells Fargo's corporate slogan "Together we'll go far" was proven true.
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Already the largest bank by market cap, Wells Fargo is arguably the safest because unlike Citigroup, Wells Fargo is not overly exposed to the volatile European market. Also, Wells Fargo, which is the No. 1 mortgage originator in the U.S., is unburdened by the investment banking and high-risk trading business that has hurt JPMorgan Chase.