Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) climbed to a new 52-week high on Wednesday to levels not seen in nearly two years after beating the market by a wide margin in 2012.

XLF was a top sector ETF performer last year with a gain of nearly 30% as bank stocks shook off worries over the global economy, European debt crisis and U.S. deficit. The financial fund enjoyed a strong 2012 after dropping about 17% the previous year.

The sector ETF enjoyed its best year since 2003 when it zoomed 31.5%, according to Morningstar. [Bank Bulls Drive Year-End Breakout Hopes in Financial ETF]

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway outperformed the S&P 500 in 2012 thanks in part to his big bet on Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

BAC shares more than doubled last year, making it one of the best performers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to Yahoo Finance’s Daily Ticker. BAC is the fourth-largest holding in XLF, the financial ETF, at 6.3% of the portfolio. The fund also has 8.3% in Berkshire Hathaway.

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