This High-Yield ETF May Find Opportunities in the "Uncertain" Banking Sector

Several of the largest banks in the U.S. reported lackluster quarterly results, with many citing higher expenses, rising inflation, and potential losses from exposure to Russia as the primary drivers for their losses.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co.Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co.Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley all reported double-digit declines in their first quarter earnings. On Monday, Bank of America Corp. followed suit, reporting a 12% drop in first-quarter profit. All but Bank of America reported lower revenue.

While the quarter was previously thought to be a return to normalcy for U.S. banks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, record high inflation, and the Federal Reserve raising rates for the first time since 2018 threw a wrench in plans for the global economy to recover.

“The macro outlook for the rest of the year can only be described as complex and uncertain,” Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser told investors.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan, said in the company’s earnings statement: “We remain optimistic on the economy, at least for the short term — consumer and business balance sheets as well as consumer spending remain at healthy levels — but see significant geopolitical and economic challenges ahead.”

Dimon is also quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that the risks associated with the war in Ukraine and rising inflation have grown, adding: “Those are very powerful forces, and those things are going to collide at one point. No one knows what’s going to turn out.”

Investors seeking precise, index-based exposure to high-yield assets within the banking space may want to consider the BondBloxx US High Yield Financial and REIT Sector ETF (NYSE Arca: XHYF), which targets banking, financial services, insurance, and REIT sub-sectors.

XHYF is newly organized, non-diversified, and seeks to track the investment results of the ICE Diversified US Cash Pay High Yield Financial & REIT Index, which is a rules-based index consisting of U.S. dollar-denominated below investment-grade bonds that contains issuers from the financial sector, including the banking, financial services, and insurance sub-sectors, as well as the REIT sector.

XHYF is one of seven U.S. high-yield bond ETFs that BondBloxx launched in February to offer precise, index-based exposure to the high-yield asset class and allow investors the opportunity to diversify and manage risk to the industry sector.

BondBloxx was founded by ETF industry leaders Leland Clemons, Joanna Gallegos, Elya Schwartzman, Mark Miller, Brian O’Donnell, and Tony Kelly. The team has collectively built and launched over 350 ETFs at firms including BlackRock, JPMorgan, State Street, Northern Trust, and HSBC.

According to the issuer, more institutional investors are acknowledging the role that fixed income ETFs can play in their portfolios, even during times of volatility. They can offer short-term liquidity while offering a more efficient way to keep portfolios in balance. Sector ETFs enable intentional tactical tilts to be added to their portfolios. They can also enhance price discovery, even when transparency is low, or the underlying securities are not trading.

“One of our goals at BondBloxx is to provide market awareness of the variation of returns within the credit markets,” said Schwartzman. “An important yet unappreciated source of outperformance for investors is the dispersion of returns within the broader bond market categories, especially during times of market dislocation.”

For more news, information, and strategy, visit the Institutional Income Strategies Channel.