Dec. 1, 2014, 11:40 AM
- A positive macro outlook for the U.S. (especially compared to the rest of the globe) should boost credit demand, says UBS - upgrading U.S. financials (NYSEARCA:XLF) to Overweight - while the start of a new rate-hike cycle next year bodes well for interest margins.
- UBS's three favored U.S. banks are Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), but TD Bank (NYSE:TD) also makes the buy list thanks to its large American presence.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, RWW, KBWR, RYF, FINZ, KRS
Nov. 25, 2014, 2:46 PM
- "Not surprisingly, billionaires reduced their energy allocations (NYSEARCA:XLE) during Q3," says Direxion, unveiling the quarterly rebalance for the iBillionaire Index (which serves as the benchmark for the IBLN ETF). Attention was instead shifted to healthcare (NYSEARCA:XLV) and materials (NYSEARCA:XLB), with companies like Humana (NYSE:HUM) and Monsanto (NYSE:MON).
- Also added to the index: TMO, GM, FB, CBS, GOOG, MAS, APD, DAL, NOV, WHR, THC, ABBV.
- Dropped from the index: AIG, MCK, CTSH, MSI, RIG, CI, APC, GPS, MSFT, CMCSA, NFLX, MHFI, WMB, ICE.
- Outlying sectors: Consumer Discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY) makes up 23.33% of the iBillionaire Index vs. 11.68% for the S&P 500, and Industrials (NYSEARCA:XLI) and financials (NYSEARCA:XLF) make up just 6.67% each of the index vs. 10.44 and 16.30 of the S&P 500, respectively. Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP) have zero representation in the index vs. 9.7% in the S&P 500.
- Previously: Direxion launched an ETF with iBillionaire today
Nov. 21, 2014, 1:08 PM
- "In conversations with investors, skepticism remains high while interest in the group remains low," says UBS strategist Julian Emanuel, quickly making at least a contrarian case for buying the financial sector (NYSEARCA:XLF). In addition to that, Emanuel sees a number of positive catalysts emerging over the next year.
- There's higher interest rates, of course, but also underpinning a strong 2015 will be higher volatility and continued robust M&A action, says Emanuel, noting Q3 earnings for U.S. financials gained 9.4% on 5.6% revenue growth.
- The XLF's gain of 10.8% YTD compares to 13.6% for the S&P 500.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, FINU, RWW, RYF, FINZ
Oct. 31, 2014, 10:38 AM
- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS +4.8%) is the latest to do so, today announcing the setting aside of $640M for potential settlements in the currency-rigging investigations.
- In total, seven major U.S. and European banks have boosted their legal reserves by $6.5B in October. Last night, Citigroup (C +0.4%) was forced to cut its Q3 earnings by $600M amid "rapidly-evolving" probes.
- UBS has put aside the most of any single bank this month - $1.9B. Next in line is Deutsche Bank (DB +0.7%) with $1.1B, and JPMorgan (JPM +1.3%) with $1B. None of the lenders disclosed exactly how much was specifically for foreign exchange, and none have yet been formally accused of wrongdoing.
- Barclays (BCS +5.6%) reserved $800M for FX-related settlements, and Credit Suisse (CS +0.5%) $400M.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, IAI, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, FINU, RWW, RYF, FINZ
Oct. 23, 2014, 4:49 PM
- Not having had the pleasure of being subject to the stress test and CCAR previously, Deutsche Bank's (NYSE:DB) U.S. unit will be a participant next year
- As in prior years, those BHCs with large trading operations - BAC, C, GS, JPM, MS, WFC - will be required to factor in a global market shock as part of their scenarios.
- Those six, plus STT and BK - thanks to their custodial operations - will be required to incorporate a counterparty default scenario.
- Among the items in the severely adverse scenario is the unemployment rate jumping to 10%, a 60% dive in the stock market, and oil jumping to $110 per barrel (how about oil falling to $10 per barrel?).
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, IAI, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KCE, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, KBWC, FINZ, KRS
Oct. 22, 2014, 10:32 AM
- The MBA index rose 11.6% for the week ended October 17, the largest gain since January as mortgage rates continued to decline - the average 30-year fixed mortgage coming in at 4.1%, the lowest since May 2013.
- Leading the way were refinancings, with that gauge jumping 23.3%, the biggest move since January 2012 (purchase applications fell 4.6%).
- Should the trend continue, the now-lean mortgage operations at places like Wells Fargo (WFC +0.2%), JPMorgan (JPM +0.2%), and Bank of America (BAC +0.2%), among others, should provide a nice boost to Q4 results.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, FINZ, KRS
Oct. 17, 2014, 12:20 PM
- One of the key issues serving as a road block to mortgage lending is banker fear over having any loans put back to them by the GSEs at any time - even years down the road - for any number of reasons.
- This concern was voiced most pointedly in the late summer by Wells Fargo (WFC +1.2%) CEO John Stumpf in the kind of call-out of regulators you don't often hear from corporate leaders.
- The WSJ is now reporting that Fannie (OTCQB:FNMA +5.9%), Freddie (OTCQB:FMCC +7.3%), their regulators, and banks are near a deal in which the lenders could feel protected enough to begin granting mortgages to those without perfect credit and employment histories.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, FINU, RWW, RYF, FINZ
Oct. 15, 2014, 10:49 AM
- Bank earnings models will no doubt need to be tweaked as the sure thing of higher rates becomes somewhat less sure, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield plunging all the way down to 2%, and 30-day Fed Funds futures - just weeks ago pricing in 100% chance of a rate hike by June 2015 - now sees no move until December 2015.
- The XLF is lower by 1.9% and the Regional Banking ETF (NYSEARCA:KRE) is down 2.1% (the S&P 500 is off a mere 1.1%). Among individual names, KeyCorp (KEY -6.4%), First Bancorp (FBP -6.4%), Regions Financial (RF -4%), U.S. Bancorp (USB -2.2%), Fifth Third (FITB -2.6%), Bank of America (BAC -4%), Citigroup (C -3.3%), JPMorgan (JPM -2.8%), Wells Fargo (WFC -1.9%).
- Financial ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, RWW, KBWR, RYF, FINZ, KRS
- Life insurers were also waiting on higher rates and they're slipping more than the averages as well. MetLife (MET -3.7%), Prudential (PRU -2.9%), Manulife (MFC -3.5%) Sun Life (SLF -3.4%), Lincoln Financial (LNC -3.9%).
- Insurance ETFs: KIE, IAK, KBWP, KBWI
- Previously: BofA call: Assumption about higher rates not so sure anymore
Oct. 14, 2014, 12:21 PM
- Amid a trio of Q3 earnings reports - JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo - the Financial Sector Select SPDR (XLF +1%) is one of the day's most-traded ETFs, with 26.4M shares trading hands thus far. The fund is also strongly higher despite misses at JPMorgan and Wells Fargo (both of those names are lower). Citigroup, however, is ahead by 2.3%.
- Also on the move are the Vanguard Financial Index (VFH +1.3%) and the iShares U.S. Financials ETFS (IYF +1.2%)
- Broad fin'l sector ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, FINU, RWW, RYF, FINZ
Oct. 13, 2014, 8:00 AM
- When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In what smells like another foray by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with other agencies possibly joining in, banks are reportedly under investigation for lending ... this time for automobiles.
- Amid an otherwise sluggish loan market - especially for mortgages - auto lending has experienced rapid growth over the past few years, particularly subprime lending, and those in that business - Santander Consumer being one - are already under examination by the CFPB.
- At issue for banks is not just the direct auto loans they're making, but the financing they're providing to shops like Santander Consumer.
- Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is the largest U.S. auto lender, with $50.8B in loans outstanding at the end of last year, roughly $15B of which was subprime. In addition, the bank has extended since 2011 more than $1.5B of credit lines to the country's largest subprime lenders. Other sizable players include Capital One (NYSE:COF) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM).
- "Banks are making a lot of money off these (auto) loans in many different ways," says the head of a consumer advocate group. Isn't that what they're supposed to do?
- "The subprime auto sector appears too small to present a systemic risk," says BAML's Michael Hanson.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, KRS, FINZ
Oct. 10, 2014, 12:52 PM
- The banking industry is very close to resolving too big to fail, says Jamie Dimon (JPM +0.6%), speaking publicly for the first time since his cancer diagnosis (other than his July earnings call appearance). He's appearing at a conference roundtable alongside Morgan Stanley's (MS +0.8%) James Gorman, Deutsche's (DB -0.9%) Anshu Jain, and Bank of America's (BAC +0.7%) Brian Moynihan.
- Webcast here
- The most pointed remarks so far come from Deutsche's Jain, who tells those who would continue to further strangle the banks with more regulation to look to Europe. Straightforward banking - taking deposits and making loans - is far more the norm there then here, he says, and the forcing of banks to trim businesses and balance sheets is a large contributor to the Continent's stagnant growth.
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, IAI, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, KBWB, RKH, QABA, FINU, KCE, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, KBWC, KRS, FINZ
Oct. 9, 2014, 4:00 PM
- It's unlikely that the strong dollar will impact Q3 earnings as much as people think, Diane Garnick, CEO of global asset management firm Clear Alternatives says. But it will impact Q4 earnings. We're likely to see companies meet or exceed earnings in Q3, but give downward forecasts for Q4, she says.
- Companies with bigger international exposure, like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will lower their estimates more. The same is true for sectors dominated by companies with global exposure like financials (NYSEARCA:XLF).
- Conversely, companies like Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) who are almost all U.S. dollar based will be less impacted by a stronger dollar. Also relevant for ETFs like XLP and XLU.
- Link: Reuters Insider
Sep. 29, 2014, 8:04 AM
- The usual banking suspects are falling under the gaze of regulators for a trading strategy known as "dividend arbitrage" which helps their hedge fund clients reduce taxes, and from which the banks earn more than $1B in fees annually.
- The strategy - typically run from London - involves banks temporarily transferring ownership of stock to a lower-tax jurisdiction about the time when the client expects to receive a dividend on those shares. It's perfectly legal say the banks and hedge funds.
- Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), however, has been questioned by the Richmond Fed (Charlotte comes under its purview) about the legal and reputational risks of such maneuvers, reports the WSJ.
- It isn't clear if other banks have been similarly questioned, but a number of other lenders do the same thing. Among the hedge funds which benefit from dividend arbitrage is Och-Ziff Capital Management (NYSE:OZM).
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, IAI, SEF, IYG, FXO, FNCL, FINU, KCE, RWW, RYF, KBWC, FINZ
Sep. 19, 2014, 2:12 PM
Sep. 18, 2014, 12:53 PM
- Banks, insurers, brokerages and anything else starved for yield continue to gain following yesterday's FOMC news. Among the gainers are Bank of America (BAC +1.9%) - which breaks above $17 for the first time since April - Citigroup (C +2.7%), Wells Fargo (WFC +1.1%), PNC (PNC +1.1%), Fifth Third (FITB +1.7%), SunTrust (STI +1.2%), Schwab (SCHW +2.3%), Prudential (PRU +2.5%), and Lincoln National (LNC +2.4%).
- The XLF +1.2%, KBE +1.5%, and KRE +2%.
- Financial sector ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, KBWB, FNCL, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, KRS, FINZ
- Lit up bright red is the utility sector (XLU -1%), led by Southern Company (SO -1.1%), Dominion Resources (D -1.2%), Duke Energy (DUK -1.4%), and Pinnacle West (PNW -1.9%).
- Utility ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU
Sep. 17, 2014, 3:16 PM
- Leading markets higher as the reality of higher interest rates gets nearer is the financial sector (XLF +0.9%). Whether its banks, brokerages, or insurers, a higher benchmark rate for some time has been considered a key bullish catalyst. An especially large move is being seen in the online brokerage names who have been forced to forego money market fees for years thanks to ZIRP: E*Trade (ETFC +3%), Schwab(SCHW +3.2%), Ameritrade (AMTD +2%).
- Morgan Stanley (MS +1.8%), Bank of America (BAC +1.2%), JPMorgan (JPM +0.9%)
- U.S. Bancorp (USB +1.1%), Regions Financial (RF +2%), New York Community Bank (NYCB +0.8%), Huntington Bancshares (HBAN +1.3%), KeyCorp (KEY +1.3%)
- MetLife (MET +0.6%), Voya Financial (VOYA +0.7%).
- Chubb(CB +0.4%), AIG (AIG +1.1%), Hartford (HIG +0.8%)
- Financial sector ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, KIE, IAT, SEF, IYG, IAK, FXO, KBWB, FNCL, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, KBWR, RWW, KBWP, RYF, KBWI, KRS, FINZ
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