NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Financial ETFs led the equity ETF category performance on Wednesday amid heightened interest in banking stocks.

State Street's ( STT)strong earnings forecast helped lift banking stocks, with the KBW Index ending up 5.6%.

The SPDR KBW Capital Markets ETF ( KCE) which holds a 7% stake in State Street rose 3.76% to $31.72. Regional Bank HOLDRS ( RKH) shot up 5.6% led by smart performance of J.P. Morgan ( JPM) and Wells Fargo ( WFC). The most actively traded financial sector ETF, Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF), rose 4.41%. SPDR KBW Bank ( KBE) and iShares Dow Jones Financial Services ( IYG) also rose.

Tech stocks also gained in the afternoon session. A prominent gainer among the tech ETFs was iShares S&P North American Tech- Semiconductors ( IGW), gaining 5.3% thanks to advances from Intel ( INTC), Texas Instruments ( TXN) and Applied Materials ( AMAT). The stocks gained after the Semiconductor Industry Association said that chip sales rose 48% from a year earlier.

Retail ETFs were up ahead of Thursday's retail sales report. The market is expecting June same- store sales to rise by 3.2%, an increase for the 10th consecutive month. SPDR S&P Retail ( XRT) rose 3.15%. Retail HOLDRS ( RTH) , Vanguard Consumer Discretionary Fund ( VCR) and SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF ( XHB)also rose.

China-focused ETFs were up, even amid concerns of a possible slowdown. The Global X China Consumer ETF ( CHIQ) rose 2.28%, as a stronger Yuan is expected to benefit Chinese consumers.

-- Reported by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York.

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