Investors in the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE:XLF) and financial stocks are getting a serious case of dj vu. A recent Wall Street Journal poll of 59 economists found that more than 80 percent are expecting a modest rate hike in December.
Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Cha points out that this is the exact same position financial investors found themselves in a year ago.
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Specialists worry that the set-up is just like this time last year and setting up for disappointment while preferring to hide out in names with idiosyncratic drivers (secular growth, expense plans, etc.) and potential for out-year earnings upside ex-rates, Cha explains.
Financial bulls argue that the sector is all about value at the moment, with the prospect of steeper yield curves next year.
Goldman highlights four key charts that the firm is watching in the financial sector at the moment:
While expenses are up at almost all big banks in Q3, rising costs were more than offset by revenue gains. Return on average tangible common shareholders equity (ROTCE) at money center banks came in nearly at 10 percent during the quarter.
Hedge funds, which performed horribly throughout the first half of the year, recovered significantly in Q3.
Finally, the 2-10 year swap spread has bounced off its mid-September lows and is now once again near its early-September peak.
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