Keep Your Eye on the I-Banks

The investment banking index's relative performance vs. the market has slumped, though S&P still sees positive fundamentals for the group

The S&P Investment Banking and Brokerage subindustry index was one of the stellar performers in 2006, jumping 39% compared with the S&P 1500's climb of 13.3%. Since early this year, however, the 12-month relative strength for this group has slumped. Is this relative price decline only representative of a near-term digestion of two years' worth of above-average gains, or should we be concerned about this group's ability to increase its solid earnings-per-share (EPS) growth trend?

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