Fifth Third Bancorp.'s stock is likely to be the industry's top performer over the next five years, with shares of First Union Corp. and Fleet Financial Group near the bottom among the nation's largest banking companies, according to Salomon Smith Barney Inc.

The projections are based on return on invested capital rather than on the usual return-on-equity measure. Henry C. Dickson, a Salomon Smith Barney managing director, says return on invested capital better accounts for the costs, risks, and potential gains from mergers and business restructurings than the ROE approach.

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