Bank stocks rally to pre-crisis levels

Bank stocks rally to pre-crisis levels after Fed meeting

/ 08:09 AM December 15, 2023

US bank stocks rally to pre-crisis levels

A trader works, as a screen displays a news conference by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell following the Fed rate announcement, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., Dec 13, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File photo

Shares in U.S. banks were rallying strongly on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signaled potential interest rate cuts in 2024 with the sector returning to its highest level since early March just before a crisis that put some banks out of business.

Wells Fargo and BofA Global Research analysts raised price targets across the banking sector in wake of the Fed’s dovish pivot on Wednesday


The S&P 500 bank index, up 4.4 percent and climbing sharply for a second session in a row, hit its highest level since March 6. This as the KBW Regional Banking index was also rising more than 4 percent.


The Fed left interest rates unchanged after its meeting on Wednesday and its Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank’s monetary policy tightening was likely over with inflation falling faster than expected and that talk of rate cuts was coming into view.”

READ: With rate hikes likely done, Fed turns to timing of cuts

While higher interest rates boost lenders’ profits to an extent they can also result in weakening of loan demand and pressure for banks to raise deposit rates they pay customers.

In March three medium-sized banks collapsed under pressure from rising interest rates and as customers moved their deposits to seek stability as well as higher returns.

On Thursday some of the biggest percentage gainers in the S&P 500 bank index were regional banks Zions Bancorp up 10 percent, Regions Financial up 9 percent and Citizens Financial, adding 8.8 percent.

Bigger banks were rising also but at a slower pace with JPMorgan Chase up 2.1 percent, Citigroup up 3.8 percent, and Wells Fargo adding 5.1 percent.


BofA Global Research analyst Ebrahim Poonawala said in a research note issued early on Thursday that the KBW Bank index was still trading at a 50-percent discount to the S&P 500 even after outperforming the benchmark since its October lows. The KBW index was last up 5.4 percent on the day.

READ: Tax-loss selling, ‘Santa rally’ could sway U.S. stocks after Nov melt-up

While investors had already been revisiting their exposure to banks in recent weeks, according to Poonawala, the move in interest rates “on the back of Fed messaging has the potential to drive further FOMO (fear of missing out).”

Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey, pointed to the potential economic boost from rate cuts with a strong economy as “a key to bank profitability.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Rallying stock and bond markets will also boost large banks segments including wealth management, capital markets and credit according to Meckler, who also noted that banks are among underperforming sectors “playing catch-up” in the market.

TAGS: Bank stocks, interest rate cuts, Rally, S&P, s&p 500

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.