Big Week for Financial ETFs as Wall Street Kicks Off Earnings Season

Financial sector-related exchange traded funds are going to have a big week ahead as Wall Street banks are set to kick off the earnings season.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) are scheduled to report second-quarter results on Tuesday, MarketWatch reports. Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) will report on July 15, followed by Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) on July 16. All the earnings announcements will be made before the market open.

Among its top holdings, the broad Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) includes an 11.0% tilt toward JPM, along with 7.0% BAC, 4.1% C, 3.6% WFC and 2.4% GS.

Many investors anticipate a poor earnings result this time around, especially among banks as the sector set aside more money to cover expected losses from the coronavirus-induced shutdowns.

“We’ve got a full three months of the pandemic coming through the numbers now,” Kyle Sanders, an analyst at Edward Jones, told Bloomberg, adding that the second quarter was probably the worst for bank earnings since the financial crisis. “The first quarter was rough, but it really only reflected a couple of weeks in March.”

The surge in unemployment rates to record highs left many American consumers unable to pay back debts or take on new loans. Consequently, banks were forced to set aside more to cover poor loans. Meanwhile, the stay-at-home orders left many retailers in a lurch, which further weighed on service charges and credit-card fees that have fueled banks’ recent growth.

However, some more optimistic observers argue that the big banks continue to enjoy a boost to fee income from elevated investment-banking and trading activity during the volatile markets of 2020 even as the coronavirus crisis continues. Jon Curran, a senior bank analyst, and portfolio manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, also believed that “a surge in investment-grade bond offerings” as well as fees from increased mortgage lending were two factors helping to offset the big banks’ rising credit costs.

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