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A well diversified portfolio should include some exposure to global, national and regional banks. I've been back in the hunt to find financial sector stocks with strong growth potential for 2012 and beyond. I have also recently taken advantage of some opportunities to add to my existing holdings and average down a bit.

There is strong evidence, as of recently, that would indicate a decoupling is occurring between the euro and the U.S. markets/equities in general, as the U.S. economy is showing signs of steady improvement and U.S. markets are reacting relatively positively, despite the euro recently hitting fresh new 15 month lows. It will be nice to see the U.S. markets eventually look to U.S. and general global developments, as well as individual U.S. market component's performances for direction, as opposed to reacting every morning almost solely to whatever news is coming out of Europe and what the euro is doing.

While I believe it is safe again to, at the very least, dip your toes back into the financial sector's waters, I still believe it is best to avoid Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) as well as any global banks with heavy European exposure until the EU either stabilizes itself or completely falls apart (I'd personally prefer to see an organized break-up of the EU and be done with it so the global economy can move forward). If an EU breakup ever does occur, I will be watching for oversold conditions in the sector like a hawk to take positions in "the big four."

Here is a list of financial sector companies, in no particular order, with solid balance sheets and growing customer bases/deposits that should perform well this year, regardless of what happens in Europe:

1. First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC)

First Republic Bank is a state-chartered commercial bank and trust company. Shares of FRC currently trade around $31 and the company has a market cap of about $4B. It has a forward P/E of11.71.

Income Data

Revenue (NYSE:TTM):

1.11B

Revenue Per Share :

8.62

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

13.60%

Gross Profit :

N/A

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

337.36M

Diluted EPS :

2.55

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

32.20%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

2.09B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

16.16

Total Debt (mrq):

2.21B

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

N/A

Current Ratio (mrq):

N/A

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

18.66

2. Capital One (NYSE:COF)

Capital One Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services holding company. Shares of COF currently trade around $45.50 and the company has a market cap of about $20.7B. It has a forward P/E of just 7.42.

Income Data

Revenue :

13.85B

Revenue Per Share :

30.48

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

12.20%

Gross Profit :

N/A

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

3.54B

Diluted EPS :

7.47

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

1.20%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

8.50B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

18.64

Total Debt (mrq):

35.26B

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

N/A

Current Ratio (mrq):

N/A

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

64.41

3. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company. Shares of WFC currently trade around $29 and the company has a market cap of about $152B. It has a forward P/E of just 8.91.

Income Data

Revenue :

72.87B

Revenue Per Share :

13.82

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

2.20%

Gross Profit :

N/A

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

14.37B

Diluted EPS :

2.70

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

21.40%

Balance Sheet

Revenue :

72.87B

Revenue Per Share :

13.82

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

2.20%

Gross Profit :

N/A

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

14.37B

4. Jefferies (JEF)

Jefferies Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate as securities and investment banking firm. Shares of JEF currently trade around $14 and the company has a market cap of about $2.75B. It has a forward P/E of 9.54.

Income Data

Revenue :

2.47B

Revenue Per Share :

11.72

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

-19.70%

Gross Profit :

2.13B

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

284.62M

Diluted EPS :

1.28

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

-23.00%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

37.80B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

171.48

Total Debt (mrq):

20.25B

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

580.06

Current Ratio (mrq):

N/A

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

14.40

5. Visa (NYSE:V)

Visa Inc. (Visa) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, banks and governments. Shares of V currently trade around $101 and the company has a market cap of about $82B. It has a forward P/E of 14.83.

Income Data

Revenue :

9.19B

Revenue Per Share :

13.38

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

12.60%

Gross Profit :

7.73B

EBITDA :

5.75B

Net Income Avl to Common

3.65B

Diluted EPS :

5.32

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

13.70%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

3.40B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

4.94

Total Debt (mrq):

12.00M

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

0.05

Current Ratio (mrq):

2.66

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

38.51

6. US Bancorp (NYSE:USB)

U.S. Bancorp is a multi-state financial services holding company. Shares of USB currently trade around $28 and the company has a market cap of about $53B. It has a forward P/E of10.46.

Income Data

Revenue :

15.70B

Revenue Per Share :

8.19

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

19.20%

Gross Profit :

N/A

EBITDA :

N/A

Net Income Avl to Common

4.36B

Diluted EPS :

2.26

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

40.20%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

15.49B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

8.12

Total Debt (mrq):

63.70B

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

N/A

Current Ratio (mrq):

N/A

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

16.01

7. BlackRock (NYSE:BLK)

BlackRock, Inc. is an independent investment management firm. Shares of BLK currently trade around $180 and the company has a market cap of about $32.25B. It has a forward P/E of 13.97.

Income Data

Revenue :

9.35B

Revenue Per Share :

49.88

Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy):

6.40%

Gross Profit :

8.61B

EBITDA :

3.74B

Net Income Avl to Common

2.41B

Diluted EPS :

12.67

Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy):

8.00%

Balance Sheet

Total Cash (mrq):

22.51B

Total Cash Per Share (mrq):

125.86

Total Debt (mrq):

25.69B

Total Debt/Equity (mrq):

103.02

Current Ratio (mrq):

1.06

Book Value Per Share (mrq):

138.25

There are many value plays to be found in the sector and I will be scanning for them regularly. Hopefully this article helps give some direction to those of you who are ready to mix it up in the financial sector.

Abbreviation guide for the above tables: ttm = trailing twelve months, yoy = year over year, mrq = most recent quarter.

Source: Time To Jump Back Into Financials: 7 Picks For 2012 And Beyond