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The financial services sector is seen as a beneficiary of higher U.S. interest rates, something that has yet to materialize this year, weighing on the sector. Within the sector, regional bank stocks and exchange traded funds are highly correlated to U.S. interest rates. So are insurance stocks and ETFs such as the SPDR S&P Insurance […]

I do the “ETF of the Week” for MarketWatch every week on Chuck Jaffe’s MoneyLife Show where I highlight big movers and disappointments among exchange traded funds. On Thursday, I looked at the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (NYSEArca: KIE). This area of the financial sector could capitalize off a rising interest rate environment. Click here to […]

Ten-year Treasury yields have retreated over the past couple of days, but the three-month gain for the benchmark U.S. government bond yield is still close to 11%, meaning plenty of rate-sensitive asset classes and sectors are responding. On the positive end of the rate-sensitive sector spectrum, financial services exchange traded funds, namely regional bank ETFs, […]

The financial services sector, the second-largest sector weight behind technology in the S&P 500, has been a laggard this year. That much is confirmed by the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF). XLF, the largest financial services ETF, is one of just three of the nine sector SPDRs that has traded lower this year. Perhaps […]

With 10-year U.S. Treasury yields higher by 18.2% since Feb. 2, financial services exchange traded funds are finding some relief with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) rising 4.7% over that period. More focused (and rate-sensitive) financial services industry funds are doing even better and that ebullience is not limited to regional bank funds. […]

With 10-year Treasury yields climbing another 2% Friday, extending the benchmark government bond yield’s rise to 18.6% since Jan. 30, plenty of attentions is being paid to the vulnerability of rate-sensitive asset classes. Most of that attention is devoted to asset classes and exchange traded funds that are adversely affected by rising Treasury yields. Think […]

Arguably, it is a vexing revelation to some, but insurance stocks and exchange traded funds that have eagerly waited for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates could be stung by further strength for the dollar, potentially the result of higher rates. A report out earlier this week from Sterne Agee argues that the combination […]

Among the asset classes and industries that would not mind seeing the Federal Reserve raise interest rates are insurance companies. There are scores of asset classes and sectors that are sensitive to fluctuations in U.S interest rates. As displayed by master limited partnerships (MLPs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) and the utilities sector this year, […]

In the financials space, investors are finding that insurance companies and related exchange traded funds provide less of a safeguard as more Americans forgo life insurance all together. Industrywide sales of individual life insurance plans are down 45% since the mid-1980s, and about 30% of American households do not have life insurance at all, up […]

While still strengthening along with the broader markets, financial sector exchange traded funds face headwinds. Year-to-date, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) rose 4.8%, Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSEArca: VFH) increased 5.1% and he iShares U.S. Financials ETF (NYSEArca: IYF) gained 4.5%. [Financials ETFs Could Continue Languishing] The Federal Reserve’s annual stress test on the […]

Exchange traded funds that track the insurance sub-sector have underperformed the broader financials sector and equity market, enduring weaker returns under depressed interest rates. The SPDR KBW Insurance ETF (NYSEArca: KIE), which provides exposure to U.S. companies that offer life, property, casualty, full line insurance and reinsurance, has gained 2.5% year-to-date. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 […]

Some of the best things come in small packages. Exchange traded funds cover a range of investment segments, and in the current rally, smaller areas in the market are generating robust gains. The S&P 500 Index rallied 25.1% year-to-date and has been hitting new historic highs. Meanwhile, other smaller sectors have raced ahead, notably green […]

The financial services sector, the S&P 500’s second-largest sector weight, has been a stout performer this year, but headwinds have arisen in recent weeks that make this earnings season a pivotal one for scores of ETFs tracking the sector. Put the PowerShares Dynamic Financial Sector Portfolio (NYSEArca: PFI) on that list. PFI is small with […]

Some of the best things come in small packages. Exchange traded fund investors can find great momentum picks among products with lower assets under management, but you also have to be aware of the potential risks. So far this year, 33 of the 50 best performing ETFs are funds that started 2013 with less than […]

A slew of economic fundamentals are in place that will benefit life insurers, and related exchange traded funds, throughout the remainder of 2013. S&P Capital has a positive outlook on this sub-sector as the S&P Life and Health Insurance Index has risen 46.8% versus 20.3% for the broad market S&P 500 Index. “Although we expect […]

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s reiteration that interest rates will remain low for quite a while and traders’ interpretations that the Fed will not commence tapering of its quantitative easing program as soon as previously expected helped boost stocks Thursday. In the process, yields on 10-year Treasurys dropped 10 basis points to 2.6% from 2.7%. […]

As interest rates rise from a three decade low, investors will have to shift strategies and can even capitalize on potential high performers, such as insurance companies and related exchange traded funds. According to a recent Goldman Sachs research note, insurance companies are among “the clearest winners” in a rising yield environment as they continue […]

Equity exchange traded funds finished in positive territory for the first quarter of 2013. The S&P 500 had a year-to-date return of 10.61% through the end of March. “And now more data showing investors’ risk appetites are whetted. BlackRock reports that investors globally spent a net $70.1 billion on exchange-traded funds in the first quarter, […]

Hurricane Sandy, the perfect storm or “Frankenstorm,” is expected to leave billions in damages along its wake as it ravages through the Northeast. When the markets start trading again, sector exchange traded funds investors will have to keep an eye on a couple of key areas. Trang Ho for Investor’s Business Daily outlines five sectors […]

While the East Coast braces for the perfect storm, exchange traded funds that follow the insurance industry are already taking a hit as investors anticipate billions of dollars in damages. Hurricane Sandy is heading toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast and is expected to merge with a winter storm and artic air in what forecasters are […]

An exchange traded fund indexed to the insurance sector rallied nearly 6% on Monday on relief Hurricane Irene didn’t cause as much damage on the East Coast as initially predicted. Property and casualty insurers surged Monday as the Northeast wasn’t hit as hard as expected by the storm. Still, Irene did cause extensive damage along […]

Exchange traded funds tracking the insurance sector fell Thursday as the East Coast braced for Hurricane Irene. The “potentially devastating” Category 3 storm is expected to carve a path along the coast and reach the Northeast this weekend. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday warned residents to be prepared to evacuate. Shares of insurers […]

Insurance exchange traded funds lost ground Friday after Travelers (NYSE: TRV) said it has limited its share buyback program due to catastrophe losses in April and May. The Dow component said the losses resulted from multiple tornadoes and hail storms that hit the U.S., primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. Travelers now expects its total […]

Financial and insurance exchange traded funds followed American International Group (NYSE: AIG) lower Wednesday after the company priced a stock offering at $29 a share as it raised nearly $9 billion. AIG shares were down nearly 4%. The insurance giant’s share offering allowed the U.S. Treasury to sell off some of the stake in AIG […]

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) tracking the insurance sector will likely see increased interest Thursday following quarterly earnings from MetLife (NYSE: MET) and Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU). Both companies are expected to report after Wednesday’s closing bell. MetLife and Prudential are the top two holdings in iShares Dow Jones U.S. Insurance Index Fund (NYSEArca: IAK) at […]

Insurance exchange traded funds (ETFs) were on Monday’s agenda following quarterly results from Loews (NYSE: L). The company said its first-quarter profit slipped to $382 million from $420 million in the year-ago period. One of the holding company’s key subsidiaries is insurance firm CNA Financial. Insurance sector ETFs PowerShares Dynamic Insurance Portfolio (NYSEArca: PIC) and […]

AIG (NYSE: AIG) is one of the most notorious names in the financial crisis. A couple years after its bailout, it’s apparently back from the dead and in some exchange traded funds (ETFs), if you want it. One of the market’s top performers this year was on life support just a few years ago, reports […]

ETFs are off to a flat start for Wall Street with investors focused on disappointing housing-price and consumer-confidence data, but volumes are thin with many traders still out for the holidays. Home prices tumbled in October, according to data released Tuesday, with six cities setting new lows as the housing market remains divorced from the […]

Health care-focused exchange traded funds (ETFs) have done so-so this year. If analysts’ calls are correct, 2011 could be the sector’s breakout year. Michael Gregory, manager of the Highland Long/Short Healthcare fund, believes that the health care sector will perform in 2011 as a result of the compromise in Washington, cheap valuations and consolidations among […]

Invesco PowerShares announced that four new exchange traded funds (ETFs), based on Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., aka KBW Indexes. They began trading Thursday on the NYSE Arca. The latest portfolios from PowerShares provide investors with access to a various sub-sectors within financials, including real estate investment trusts (REITs), financial services, and property & casualty […]