And the winner for the best financial services stock of 2012 is … BAC.
No major financial stock — as defined as companies with a market capitalization of at least $36 billion — performed better in 2012 than Bank of America Corp. BAC stock climbed 103.8% to date in 2012 to $11.33 per share, as of 10:40 am ET. That’s some serious appreciation in value, folks.
(It should be noted that the stock is down about 2% so far today.)
The rapid climb for BAC stock started in early September when the bank announce that it would begin paying out a regular dividend. Another contributor to the stock’s run was the settlement in late September of lawsuits related to BAC’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch, which took place at the height of the credit crisis.
With the housing market showing signs of improvement, we see green shoots for banking stocks in 2013, assuming credit underwriting standards don’t go the way of a “drunk sailor.” And that’s always a possibility, especially in the far reaches of the credit spectrum.