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Stocks of Banks and Corporate Bonds Gain on a Flat Inflation Report and an Update From the Federal Reserve

June 13, 2024
minute read

Bank stocks maintained their upward trajectory on Wednesday following the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates unchanged and a mild monthly inflation report that bolstered optimism within the sector.

Earlier in the session, bank stocks experienced stronger gains, driven by hopes that a key inflation measure might prompt the Federal Reserve to consider interest-rate cuts later this year, potentially as early as September.

Market analysts are divided, with some predicting a 0.25% rate cut by the end of the year, while others believe the Federal Reserve will hold off on any rate cuts until 2024.

Reducing interest rates could alleviate concerns regarding the costs associated with refinancing commercial real estate. This is particularly relevant as office property values remain low in many areas due to decreased demand, and numerous bank loans are reaching their maturity dates.

The consumer-price index (CPI) for May remained flat, marking the first time in approximately two years that there has been no monthly increase. This result exceeded the expectations of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, who had anticipated a 0.1% rise.

Daniel Murray, deputy head of global research at EFG Asset Management, commented on the situation, stating, “The latest CPI print was encouraging but will need to be ratified by incoming data over coming months before the Fed will be comfortable cutting rates.”

Financial stocks within the S&P 500 rose nearly 2% on Wednesday, achieving the second-largest gain among the ten subsectors tracked by FactSet, outpacing the overall 1.1% increase in the S&P 500.

The SPDR S&P Regional Banking exchange-traded fund (KRE) surged by 3.4%, recovering some of its losses incurred earlier in the year due to higher interest rates and exposure to commercial real estate. Despite this gain, the index of regional banks remains down 8.6% for the year, in contrast to the S&P 500's 13.8% rise in 2024.

Several financial stocks within the S&P 500 showed significant gains. Comerica Inc. rose by 4.5%, Blackstone Group Inc. increased by 4.9%, Citizens Financial Group Inc. advanced by 4.8%, and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. climbed by 4.4%.

Other notable movements included Truist Financial Corp. rising by 3.6%, U.S. Bancorp moving up by 3.2%, KeyCorp adding 3.5%, and Fifth Third Bancorp advancing by 3%.

Additionally, yields on corporate bonds from Fifth Third Bancorp, KeyCorp, Regions Financial, and Synovus Financial Corp. decreased as their prices increased, reflecting a broader trend of rising investor confidence in the financial sector.

In summary, the banking sector experienced positive momentum on Wednesday, buoyed by the Federal Reserve's steady stance on interest rates and encouraging inflation data. While some analysts anticipate a rate cut later this year, others remain cautious, suggesting that any decision by the Fed will depend on forthcoming economic data. Financial stocks, particularly within regional banks, showed notable gains, contributing to a broader rise in the S&P 500, as investor sentiment improved amid the possibility of easing financial conditions and stable commercial real estate markets.

Editorial Board
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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