XLF (SPDR Financial, Expense Ratio 0.18%) options activity has picked up in recent sessions, most recently with accumulation of August 20 puts.
This is not particularly shocking given that we are knee deep in earnings season for top component members of the index BRK.B (8.52%), WFC (8.48%), JPM (8.33%), C (6.09%), and BAC (5.79%).
XLF is trading at $20.16 this morning, and has already eclipsed a new multi-year high this morning before settling back somewhat. XLF is by far the largest fund in the Financial Equities space, amassing $15.3 billion in assets under management since its debut back in 1998.
Other key ETFs in the space that should be watched closely at the moment include KBE (SPDR KBW Bank ETF, Expense Ratio 0.35%), KRE (SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF, Expense Ratio 0.35%), VFH (Vanguard Financials Index, Expense Ratio 0.19%), and IYF (iShares Financial Sector, Expense Ratio 0.48%) to name a few of the larger funds in terms of asset levels. All of these funds hold north of $1 billion in assets under management, so XLF is certainly not the only game in town.
There are also a bevy of specialized Financials based ETPs in the marketplace, that instead of having heavy exposure to national Money Center Banks for instance, are laser focused on a certain sub-sector within the greater Financials universe.
Funds to speak of that have been gaining traction and investor attention over the years include IAT (iShares U.S. Regional Banks, Expense Ratio 0.48%), PSP (PowerShares Global Listed Private Equity Portfolio, Expense Ratio 0.60%), KIE (SPDR KBW Insurance ETF, Expense Ratio 0.35%), IXG (iShares S&P Global Financials Sector Index, Expense Ratio 0.49%), KBWD (PowerShares KBW High Dividend Yield Financial Portfolio, Expense Ratio 0.35%) and KBWB (PowerShares KBW Bank Portfolio, Expense Ratio 0.35%) just to name a few.
Leveraged and inverse funds in the space have also garnered significant amounts of attention and investor assets and will likely see an acceleration in trading activity in the next few weeks given earnings season. Key products here include FAS (Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X, Expense Ratio 0.95%), FAZ (Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X, Expense Ratio 0.95%), SEF (ProShares Short Financials, Expense Ratio 0.95%), SKF (ProShares UltraShort Financials, Expense Ratio 0.95%), and UYG (ProShares Ultra Financials, Expense Ratio 0.95%).
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