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:

SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF ( KRE), which holds 50 different regional banks with Webster Financial Corp ( WBS) as its top holding. KRE is up 38% over the last year and closed at $29.58 on Thursday.

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.
Kevin Grewal serves as the editorial director and research analyst at The ETF Institute, which is the only independent organization providing financial professionals with certification, education, and training pertaining to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Additionally, he serves as the editorial director at SmartStops.net where he focuses on mitigating risks and implementing exit strategies to preserve equity. Prior to this, Grewal was an analyst at a small hedge fund where he constructed portfolios dealing with stock lending, exchange-traded funds, arbitrage mechanisms and alternative investments. He is an expert at dealing with ETFs and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California along with a MBA from the California State University, Fullerton.

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