Big Banks Finally Beckon, Providing Juice To This Exciting ETF

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Thanks in large part to the Federal Reserve taking interest rates to historic lows, it's been awhile since investors had anything to cheer about with bank stocks and the corresponding exchange traded funds.

What Happened: That's starting to change. For example, the Financial Select Sector SPDR XLF, the financial services ETF, is higher by 18% over the past month, indicating there's some momentum for once moribund bank stocks.

XLF's recent success is just one example, but there's a growing chorus of market participants forecasting ongoing ebullience for bank stocks in 2021 and those expectations are boosting the Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares FAS right now.

FAS, which attempts to deliver triple the daily returns of the Russell 1000 Financial Services Index, is higher by more than 56% over the past month.

Why It's Important: Obviously, FAS is a leveraged ETF, meaning it's best deployed as a short-term trading instruments, but traders don't need to fret because there are some promising historical trends at play this month for FAS.

On a historical basis, 10 of the top 25 S&P 500 stocks in the final month of the year are banking names, including some marquee components in FAS's underlying index, such as JPMorgan Chase JPM, Morgan Stanley MS and PNC Financial PNC.

Of that group of 10 bank stocks, all have December success rates of 80% to 90% and the worst performer is Comerica CMA with an average last month return of 1.59%.

What's Next: Aside from historical patterns, which aren't guaranteed to repeat, FAS has other tailwinds. Namely an improving economy, which would enable FAS member firms to repatriate billions of dollars cash previously set aside for bad loans back into per share earnings.

“The four biggest U.S. banks – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo – have amassed a nearly $100 billion pile of cash for loan loss reserves as of the third quarter. The broader industry has created its largest collective reserve since 2010, when mortgage defaults sparked a recession that required massive bailouts of banks and other companies,” reports Hugh Son for CNBC.

Bottom line: If the economy improves, banks will have a windfall of cash that can be turned into earnings, potentially propelling FAS higher.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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