U.S. Stock ETFs Advance as Banks Kick Off Earnings Season

U.S. equities and stock exchange traded funds regained their footing Friday, strengthening on the fourth quarter earnings outlook, with financial shares rising after three of the largest American lenders revealed results.

The S&P 500 Index, along with related funds including the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO), were 0.2% higher Friday.

The financial sector pared back some of its losses this week, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) up 0.6% Friday.

Supporting market gains, shares of J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) advanced after the banks reported fourth quarter results. JPM rose 0.2% on better-than-expected Q4 results. BAC still managed to eke out a 0.3% rise despite revenue coming in below expectations. WFC also returned 0.9% even after a drop in the bank’s fourth quarter earnings.

Financials have been among the best performers since the elections as traders speculated that higher U.S. interest rates and potential rollback of financial downturn-era regulations would bolster the sector. However, the financial sector, along with the broader market, has been stuck within range in recent weeks after the record run up.