The largest exchange traded fund for financial stocks rose slightly in Tuesday’s premarket as top holdings Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) each added about 1% before the bell.

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLF) fell nearly 2% on Monday as worries over Friday’s dismal jobs report spilled into the new week.

The $6.8 billion ETF is down nearly 10% over the past three months as bank stocks have been hit by Europe’s debt crisis and signs the economy is cooling.

The banking sector is also wrestling with uncertainty over new rules and capital requirements in the aftermath of the credit meltdown.

More than three years after the financial crisis began, “the rules are being rewritten, as falling asset prices, new regulation, and the resurgence of long-dormant competitive forces take their toll on profitability,” said Morningstar analyst Timothy Strauts in a profile of the financial ETF.

“While each sector within the industry faces its own challenges, the effects stemming from these general themes are likely to be felt for some time to come,” Strauts wrote. “We expect improvements in results to continue at a slow pace, as debt levels remain high, though we may soon see some banks deploying capital into acquisitions or share repurchases.”

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund

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