Financial ETFs Take Lead in Slipping Market

U.S. equities slipped into the red in late-Monday trading, but banks and financial sector-related ETFs stood out from the crowd.

The the financial sector helped pare some of the losses U.S. stocks Monday, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) up 0.7%.

Financial sector-related ETFs were leading the charge on Monday, despite the broader market weakness. For example, the Invesco S&P SmallCap Financials Portfolio (NASDAQ: PSCF) gained 2.1%, SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSEArca: KRE) increased 1.9%, First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (NasdaqGM: QABA) rose 1.8% and iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF (NYSEArca: IAT) advanced 1.8%, compared to the 1.2% decline in the S&P 500.

The strength in financials could be a sign of so-called value stocks gaining more favor after outperforming or at least holding up better than growth stocks in the recent market pullback.

XLF trades at a 13.2 price-to-earnings and a 1.4 price-to-book. In comparison, the S&P 500 is trading around a 17.9 P/E and 3.2 P/B.

Investors Shifting Styles

Investors may also be shifting styles after growth-oriented stocks outperformed for most of the year, with many taking a second look at the fly-high and potentially higher risk associated with the growth stocks ahead.