Bank stocks and sector-related exchange traded funds strengthened Thursday, brushing off the broader market pullback, after Deutsche Bank argued that bank stock performances could begin to gain momentum.
Among the better performing non-leveraged ETFs of Thursday, the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE) increased 0.2% and SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSEArca: KRE) gained 0.4%. Meanwhile, the broader Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) was 1.6% lower.
Deutsche Bank upgraded both JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., predicting that bank stock performance is about to take a turn for the better after falling behind amid pandemic-induced revenue concerns due to low interest rates and weak loan growth, along with credit concerns, Bloomberg reports.
“At this point, a further meaningful lag seems unlikely and there’s an argument to be made that bank stocks should catch up a bit versus the broader market,” Deutsche Bank analyst Matt O’Connor said in a note, raising both JPM and BAC stocks to a buy rating from hold and pointing to a more than 40% gap so far this year between banks and the broader market.
The KBW Bank Index has declined 30% so far this year and only did a little better than the 32% plunge in the KBW Regional Banking Index. In comparison, the S&P 500 increased by about 10% so far this year and has already made new record highs.
The positive outlook on bank stocks also “reflects more confidence in a continued macro recovery,” O’Connor added. He argued that there’s a “good chance” the bulk of banks’ loan loss reserve building is over with and believed capital markets and mortgage revenue are both strong, while fees from service charges, card income, and investment and brokerage continue to recover.
In a separate note, Citigroup analyst Keith Horowitz believed BofA chief executive Brian Moynihan seemed “more upbeat about the broader macro outlook with respect to BofA’s business model and credit quality outlook.”
Horowitz also pointed to better-than-expected economic data and a recovery in consumer spending, along with a “high degree of comfort on the adequacy of loan loss reserves.”
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