52-week low: $13
52-week high: $19
P/E ratio: 12
While Credit Suisse has been refocusing on its core business, Spain's Banco Santander has been riding an expansion wave that has made it the biggest bank in the eurozone. Earlier this year it acquired Britain's Abbey National, boosting an international profile that also includes such rapidly growing Latin American markets as Brazil, Mexico and Chile. In addition, Santander is thriving because of the boom in its home market, where economic growth over the past ten years has averaged 3.6% annually, nearly twice the rate of other European countries. Morgan Stanley analyst Pablo Beldarrain Santos, who rates Santander his top pick among Spain's banks, expects earnings to jump 25% this year and 20% in 2007.
Despite that kind of earnings growth, Santander remains reasonably priced, trading at ten times projected 2007 earnings, a 10% discount to other banks in Europe. If all that weren't enough, Santander pays a 3% dividend, which analysts expect to rise as profits grow in the next few years. Santos sees an upside of 20% in the shares of this fast-growing bank, which are now trading at $18 for its U.S.-listed ADRs.