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The KBW Bank Index, a group ranging in size from JPMorgan Chase to the $21 billion-asset Commerce Bancshares, rocketed back in 2012, outperforming the S&P 500 Index and recovering much of the ground it lost the year before. The momentum came mostly from names like B of A and Citi, whose shares snapped back after steep losses the year before.

Change in market cap, year through Dec. 26: $237 billion

Total return, year through Dec. 26: 32.6%