Bank stock investors historically have dumped their holdings at the slightest hint of a downturn, but with a growing number of bank analysts arguing that banks have changed, many are sticking with the sector.

When the U.S. economy was neck-deep in recession in the early 1990s, investors drove the share prices of some the biggest U.S. banking companies to single-digit levels. Today, investors seem much less bearish about the banking sector in spite of a growing consensus that the economy will soften.

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