November has been a huge month for bank stocks and financial sector-related exchange traded funds.
Over the past month, the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE) increased 17.5% and SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSEArca: KRE) gained 19.0%. Meanwhile, the broader Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) was 3.5% higher.
Bank stocks have experienced some wild swings over the past few weeks. The day after the election was among the worst for bank stocks when compared to the S&P 500, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“It’s very unusual to have two paradigm shifts in six days,” Ben Mackovak, co-founder of the fund Strategic Value Bank Partners, told the WSJ.
However, after just three more sessions since the election, banks had one of their best days in response to breaking news that Pfizer and BioNTech SE developed a coronavirus vaccine that proved better than expected at protecting their recipients.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4, the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index retreated 5% while the S&P 500 rose 2.2%, the banking segment’s worst comparative performance to the S&P 500 in over a decade. The KBW Nasdaq Regional Banking Index also plunged 7.4%, its worst day ever compared with the broader benchmark.
On Monday, Nov. 9, after the Pfizer news, the KBW big bank index surged 13.5% while the regional bank index advanced 16%, marking its best-ever performance against the S&P 500.
Investors have so far increased their allocation to banks by more than for any other sector this month, according to the Bank of America Corp. On the other hand, many are still betting against banks, as the bearish bet remained the second-most popular trade in the survey.
Nevertheless, the benchmark KBW Nasdaq Bank Index is still down 22% for the year after the coronavirus pandemic and near-zero interest rate policy weighed on banks. Many still fear that people will stop paying loans as the pandemic weighs on personal finances as unemployment rates remain elevated with no fiscal stimulus in sight to shore up the difference. The benchmark remains on pace to underperform the S&P 500 by more than any year on records going back to 1993.
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