The Week's Top Stock Gainers

For investors focused on lucky numbers, it may be notable that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) not only topped 13,000 this week but also convincingly held above it. Of course, that's only part of the bigger story, as market indexes continued to march upward this week, building on the already-hefty gains of 2012. In particular, if you are a significant investor in bank and financial stocks, the week probably treated you well, as results from the Federal Reserve's banking stress tests sent financial stocks soaring.

By the time the dust had settled on Friday, the Dow had tacked on 2.4%, while the broader Russell 3000 climbed 2.3%.

Top 3 Performing Sectors

Russell 3000 Sector

Weekly Price Change

Month-to-Date Price Change

Financials 5.1% 6%
Industrials 3% 2.6%
Information Technology 3% 3.6%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 9-March 16. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 16.

If the banking sector is truly making a turn for the better, we could soon be seeing more like Pacific Capital Bancorp's huge surge over the past week. On Monday, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial subsidiary UnionBanCal announced plans to buy Pacific Capital. The proposed acquisition gave Pacific Capital a sizeable premium over its recent trading price, and the deal was given the nod by the Ford Financial Fund, which owns roughly 75% of Pacific Capital.

Meanwhile, oil-tanker owner Frontline (NYSE: FRO  ) saw its shares surge after both its CEO and the chief of fellow tanker owner Teekay Tankers (NYSE: TNK  ) made some bullish comments about the state of the tanker market. Supply and demand is key in any industry, and the balance appears to be turning more in favor of companies such as Frontline and Teekay. As Reuters noted: "The tanker market was hit hard last year, mainly [because of] oversupply, with average daily rates for smaller classes of vessels falling to a low of $4,400. Rates have quadrupled now."

Frontline's shares were up a massive 45% on the week, while Teekay's stock tacked on 16%.

Top 3 Performing Russell 3000 Companies

Company

Weekly Price Change

Pacific Capital Bancorp 58.2%
Overseas Shipholding Group 49.8%
Frontline 45.2%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 9-March 16. Includes only companies with a market cap of $250 million or higher.

Joining in on the big gains during the week were Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and Zoll Medical (Nasdaq: ZOLL  ) .

Zoll shares jumped 23% for the week after the joint announcement that the medical-device maker agreed to be acquired by Japan's Asahi Kasei. The deal values Zoll at $2.2 billion, or $93 per share. That takeout price was a 24% premium to the previous trading day's closing price. By week's end, investors had pushed Zoll's stock price to within 0.3% of the buyout price, signaling confidence that the deal will go through without a hitch.

B of A, meanwhile, managed an impressive 22% gain for the week thanks to the Fed's stress tests. In short, the Fed assumed a dour scenario -- 13% unemployment, a 50% decline in stocks, and a 21% drop in housing prices -- and looked at how that would affect the capital positions of 19 of the country's large financial institutions. Bank of America, which investors have been continually wary of since the financial meltdown, got a thumbs-up from the Fed's test, which sparked the week's big gains.

That's it for this week's top-performers recap. If you're looking for some ideas for strong outperformers for the rest of year, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer own shares of Bank of America and Teekay Tankers but has no financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.


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