Although the trend in regional banks appears to be heading in the right direction, it is important to keep in mind their heavy dependency on U.S. consumer demand for loans. Granted, economic indicators are improving, illustrated by a decline in initial jobless applications and an uptick in sales of U.S. previously owned homes, and President Obama is trying to encourage lending to small businesses, but consumers continue to save more and remain reluctant to borrow.
Some ETFs that are likely to be influenced by the performance of regional banks include:
iShares Dow Jones US Regional Banks (IAT), which holds 66 different regional banks and includes US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) and BB&T Corp as its top holdings. IAT is up nearly 48% over the last year and closed at $27.12 on Thursday.PowerShares Dynamic Banking (PJB), which holds 30 different regional banks with Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and M&T Bank Corp (MTB) as its top holdings. PJB is up 17% over the last year and closed at $14.52 on Thursday. To help mitigate the heavy dependency of the sub-sector on consumer demand for loans, the use of an exit strategy that identifies price points at which upward trends in these equities could come to an end is helpful. According to the latest data at www.SmartStops.net, the price points are as follows: BK at $30.94; BBT at $32.67; USB at $26.28; KRE at $27.00; IAT at $25.49; PJB at $13.94. These price points are reflective of market conditions and volatility and updated daily data can be found at www.SmartStops.net. Written by Kevin Grewal in Laguna Niguel, Calif.