NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The financial and mainstream media has maintained an unwavering focus on the political and economic turmoil gripping various regions of the globe including the Middle East, North Africa, and, in recent weeks, Japan and the Pacific.
Interestingly, as mass attention has been diverted outside the U.S. the economic recovery taking place stateside has continued. Most recently, we have seen evidence that the financial arena is enjoying a promising rebound. ETF investors have a number of opportunities at their disposal to access various aspects of the banking industry.
Late last week, the
announced that, in light of the completion of its stress tests, a number of U.S. financial institutions had received the go-ahead to hike their dividends and initiate share buybacks. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the Fed has maintained a close watch over institutions, which according to MarketWatch, has included suspending or dramatically reducing dividends.
Since getting the Fed's green light, a number of firms have already taken advantage.
are among the banks which have announced plans to reinstate or increase investor payouts.
A large cap-dominated financial ETF such as the
Financial Select Sector SPDR
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index Fund
can provide investors with adequate exposure to a number of these Wall Street giants. These funds' underlying portfolios are headlined by companies such as JPM, WFC, C,
Bank of America
While effective in targeting a bevy of Wall Street kings, ultimately, XLF may not be the best option for investors looking to capture the total upside potential of the financial industry's recovery.
Those looking to cast a wider net over this sector should turn to a product such as the
SPDR KBW Bank ETF
. Like XLF, this fund boasts exposure to financial giants such as JPMorgan and Citigroup. In addition KBE also sets aside a considerable portion of its portfolio for smaller regional firms.
Like industry goliaths, a number of these smaller components of the financial industry are expected to boost their dividends in response to the Federal Reserve stress test completion.
By including firms like
in its index, KBE will likely see pops over the short run as the industry continues to recover.
Despite KBE's attractive investing strategy, it is important to note that due to their size, regional banks tend to behave in a more volatile manner than their large relatives. Risk adverse investors make be put off by the more dramatic day-to-day swings which could result from holding this fund.
As the media and analysts maintain their focus on the turmoil abroad, investors may want to consider keeping their attention directed towards the U.S. recovery. The financial industry and other components of the domestic markets have made great strides along the road to recovery and, by utilizing funds such as KBE, it is possible to capture continued strength in the future.
Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.