ETF Research and Analysis

by Ben Johnson, CFA
Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF XLF provides broad exposure to the U.S. financial-services sector. Unlike many other U.S. equity sectors, the financial-services sector has not returned to its precrisis highs. The reasons   Read more 

Bull Case

XLF is the most liquid financials-sector fund of any size on the market.
Despite net interest margin pressure in the short term, over the longer term, higher interest rates should help U.S. banks.
Banks also are in general better-capitalized than in the past, and capital ratios have been improving. Read more 

Bear Case

Morningstar's equity analysts hold the view that interest-spread revenue at banks won't grow until interest rates rise. Even when rates do rise, net interest margins are expected to rise more slowly than rates themselves, as higher-yielding assets will be added as lower-yielding ones fall off.
If interest rates rise, that could hamper underwriting activity at investment banks.
Greater regulation of financial-services firms is forcing them to make changes to their business models. Read more 

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