Prospects for the four big U.S. banks are brightening, with earnings set to rise markedly in the coming years, the financial weekly Barron's writes in its latest issue.

In the December 21 issue, Barron's writes that Citigroup Inc , Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan , and Wells Fargo & Co all look appealing following a rough period for banking stocks.

The article says that outlook is based on 'normalized earnings' they might earn, starting in 2012, and their stock-price/tangible-book-value ratios.

Of the four, it said JPMorgan may have the clearest path to higher profits, the strongest management and one of the industry's best business mixes and may be the first of them to boost its dividend in 2010.

It said that Citigroup is the riskiest of the group, citing its weaker profit outlook in the near term and the challenge of its good-bank/bad-bank strategy.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Matthew Lewis)