From Worst to Best: Financials Surge 26% in 2012

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After falling 18 percent in 2011, financial stocks are on track for their largest gain in nine years, up nearly 26 percent.

A combination of clarity, fundamentals, and other catalysts created momentum for names such as Bank of America and Citigroup, according to Meredith Whitney, CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group.

In fact, Bank of America holds the title for top gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up more than 100 percent in 2012, after being the biggest decliner last year.

Financials are also the best performing S&P 500 sector in 2012, outperforming the broader index for the first time since 2006.

The magnitude of the gains is significant, as the last time the sector outperformed the market by more than 10 percent was back in 2000.

Here is a look at the top performing stocks in the sector.

Financials in 2012

Ticker Company Price YTD % Chg.
BAC Bank of America 11.47 106%
AIG American International Group 34.97 51%
C Citigroup 39.25 49%
GS Goldman Sachs Group 126.67 40%
COF Capital One Financial 57.35 36%
JPM JPMorgan Chase 43.63 31%
MS Morgan Stanley 18.77 24%
WFC Wells Fargo 34.18 24%
SPG Simon Property Group 157.93 22%
AXP American Express 56.69 20%