Shares of regional banks climbed Tuesday as investors continued to be confident in the sector amid improving credit quality and ahead of earnings, helping the stocks to outperform the broader market.

While the broader market was nearly flat on concerns over Greece, financials stood out as a bright spot.

Many regional banks set 52-week highs early in the session, including Regions Financial Corp., Zions Bancorp., SunTrust Banks Inc., Fifth Third Bancorp and U.S. Bancorp.

Oppenheimer analyst Terry McEvoy said investors have been buying regional banking stocks since the beginning of the year, helping them to outperform.

And with earnings reports only a couple of weeks away, interest in the sector has continued.

"Usually at the end of a quarter, if there's bad news to report from an individual bank, it's disclosed," McEvoy said, adding he has not seen any major negative pre-announcements. "That has also given investors confidence in first-quarter results."

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