Bank stocks rose in tandem with the broader market Monday, amid expectations of strong first-quarter financial results.
"There certainly is enthusiasm for earnings," said Jeffrey Warantz, equities strategist for Salomon Smith Barney. "What's ahead over the next few weeks will tend to be positive announcements, and bank stocks are benefiting from that sentiment."
For the day, the Standard & Poor's bank index and the Dow Jones industrial average both gained 1.78%. The Nasdaq bank index added 0.63% and the S&P 500 was up 2.12%.
Shares of SunTrust Banks Inc. rose $2, to $65.625, after their inclusion on the "recommended stock" list of Goldman, Sachs & Co.
SunTrust shares are selling at an unwarranted 20% discount to their peer group of superregional bank stocks, said Lori Appelbaum, a banking analyst at Goldman Sachs.
Revenue growth for the Atlanta banking company is likely to continue at a 9% to 10% pace, Ms. Applebaum said. She said the company is beginning to reap benefits from its Dec. 31 acquisition of Crestar Financial Corp., and cited progress in the integration of credit card and corporate trust businesses.
The solid economy in the South will further aid SunTrust's growth, Ms. Appelbaum said.
SunTrust "is a solid company whose long-term performance has been quite good," said Michael Granger, a banking analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton in New York.
But its shares were down in recent trading "on nervousness about the quarter," he said.
"My expectation is that the banking company will be on target with consensus estimates" of 90 to 91 cents per share, Mr. Granger said.
Meanwhile, shares of Synovus Financial Corp. rose $1.75, to $21.875.
Analysts said Synovus stock was finding support after some selling in recent weeks. "The stock had come under a bit of pressure from profit taking," said Peyton N. Green, a banking analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach in Atlanta.
Mr. Green said Synovus warrants attention from investors.
"This is a very good, high-quality franchise in Georgia and Alabama," Mr. Green said. "The company is operating in above-average growth markets."