Worst Performing Bank Stocks of 2012

The worst performing bank stocks of the year didn't do all that bad. Over a six-year horizon, almost all of them have maintained their value well relative to the KBW Bank Index, a group ranging in size from JPMorgan Chase to the $21 billion-asset Commerce Bancshares. But consistent earnings and stable share prices were not enough in a 2012 where momentum came from names that snapped back after steep losses the year before.

First Niagara Financial (FNFG) First Niagara Financial (FNFG) First Niagara shares underperformed the KBW Bank Index for the second year in a row. In May, the company completed a controversial acquisition of a large network of branches from HSBC under an agreement it had announced in mid-2011.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: -$247.1 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: -4.8%
People's United (PBCT) People's United (PBCT) People's United stock gave up ground in 2012 after avoiding the losses that hit other bank shares the year before. The company bought about 60 branches from Citizens Financial in the first half, but later sounded downbeat about the prospects for further acquisitions.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: -$398.7 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: -1.1%
PNC Financial (PNC) PNC Financial (PNC) Like some other laggards in the KBW Bank Index, PNC's stock treaded water after the company completed a major acquisition. In PNC's case, the deal was a $3.5 billion purchase of RBC Bank that closed in March.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: $308.4 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 3.2%
Commerce Bancshares (CBSH) Commerce Bancshares (CBSH) Commerce's stock has held onto its value since before the crisis, and it posted the strongest performance in the KBW Bank Index in 2011. But the company was left behind by recoveries in competitors' shares in 2012.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: -$157.8 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 3.5%
Cullen/Frost (CFR) Cullen/Frost (CFR) Similarly, consistent profitability and a relatively stable share price meant that Cullen/Frost was among the worst performers in 2012.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: $94.7 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 6.1%
KeyCorp (KEY) KeyCorp (KEY) KeyCorp's shares fit a familiar pattern: outperformance in 2011 followed by underperformance in 2012.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: $560.7 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 12.3%
New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) New York Community's shares gained about 5% in the year through late December, and it indicates how well banks did that the performance ranks near the bottom among the members of the KBW Bank Index. The company's stock was hammered when it announced a sharp decline in its net interest margin for the third quarter.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: $276.6 million

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 13%

The worst performing bank stocks of the year didn't do all that bad. Over a six-year horizon, almost all of them have maintained their value well relative to the KBW Bank Index, a group ranging in size from JPMorgan Chase to the $21 billion-asset Commerce Bancshares. But consistent earnings and stable share prices were not enough in a 2012 where momentum came from names that snapped back after steep losses the year before.

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