Earnings Tests Loom for Bank ETFs | ETF Trends

Fourth-quarter earnings season is right around the corner and that means investors will soon to be treated to a spate of profit updates from the financial services sector, the third-largest sector in the S&P 500.

The Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF), the largest exchange traded fund dedicated to the financial services sector, will see significant percentage of its components report earnings over the next several weeks. Starting the week of January 14, the Russell 1000 Financial Services Index, which is not XLF’s underlying index, sees more than 31% of its components reports earnings. Over the following two weeks, that number jumps to over 32%.

Investors may want to approach the financial services sector with caution this earnings season after the group was one of last year’s worst-performing sectors. The 2018 performances of XLF and rival financial services ETFs are undoubtedly disappointing for investors that bet the sector would rally against the backdrop of rising interest rates. The Federal Reserve has boosted borrowing costs four times, moves many market observers believed would lift the fortunes of the rate-sensitive financial sector.

“ll eyes are on banks stocks ahead of earnings next week, and the Street is split on whether financial stocks are attractive at current levels,” reports CNBC. “Blue Line Futures President Bill Baruch says caution is warranted, while Susquehanna’s Stacey Gilbert says heightened volatility in the options market is a signal to buy.”