Bank stocks and sector-related exchange traded funds were leading the markets higher after recent filings revealed Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. jumped in on the falling bank stocks to increase his bets on financials, hinting at the possibility of further merger and acquisition activity in the space.
Among the top performing non-leveraged ETFs on Friday, the Invesco KBW Bank ETF (NASDAQ: KBWB) increased 2.3%, First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (NasdaqGM: QABA) advanced 2.0% and SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE) gained 2.1%. Meanwhile, the broader Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) was 1.8% higher.
Financial stocks were picked up momentum after Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway most recent regulatory filings for the fourth quarter revealed it has increased its stakes in several of the top U.S. banks, including Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), PNC Financial Services (NYSE: PNC), The Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK) and The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV).
Vice Chairman Charles Munger said Berkshire eventually dived into this segment when the timing aligned, Bloomberg reports.
“As investment has gotten harder and the banks have done better and better, we’ve finally reached a crossing point where he was willing to act,” Munger said.