Fears about the economic impact of the new Covid-19 variant have sent bank stocks on a roller-coaster ride, but they are still on track for their best year in more than two decades.

The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index, which measures the performance of big lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., was up nearly 44% in 2021 before Thanksgiving. At that rate, the KBW far outpaced the gains in the broader S&P 500 index, which was up about 25%.

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