Financial ETF Hits Nine-year High On Rate Hike Hopes

By Ryan VlastelicaMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Exchange-traded funds tied to the financial sector jumped on Wednesday, as expectations grew that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates at its March meeting, which would lift the sector's net interest margins and boost profits. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF rose 2.2% in its biggest one-day advance since Nov. 16. The day's gain also took the fund to its highest level since December 2007. The Vanguard Financials ETF gained 2.2%, the iShares U.S. Financials ETF is up 1.6%, the iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF is 2.5% higher and the PowerShares KBW Bank Portfolio surged 2.9%. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF rose 2.7% while the regional banking equivalent was 2.7% higher.

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