Bad News may be Baked Into Financial Services ETFs

The Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) is down more than 17% year-to-date, making it the worst performer among the nine legacy sector SPDR exchange traded funds, but the financial services sector’s early 2016 doldrums could be giving way to a buying opportunity for prescient investors.

Contributing to the weakness in the bank sector, traders may have been unwinding bullish bets in the run-up to the Federal Reserve’s first rate hike in December, reports Stephen Foley for the Financial Times. Investors hoped that higher rates would allow banks to capitalize on wider net interest margin – the difference between deposit rates and lending rates, but the global economic uncertainty has weighed on prospects for a quick Fed rate hike schedule.

Bank stocks surged Friday after JPMorgan & Chase (NYSE: JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon bought $26.6 million worth of the company’s stock after the banking sector rout, reports Hugh Son for Bloomberg.

JPM jumped 7.7% Friday.

“David Seaburg, head of sales trading at Cowen and Co., said the tumble has created a good buying opportunity for investors looking to bet on the banks,” according to CNBC.