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Bank of America Leads Financial ETFs Higher

tlydon@globaltrend.com (Tom Lydon)

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC - News) shares are threatening to break above $10 and the stock has helped lead financial sector ETFs sharply higher in March.

Financial ETFs have seen about $1.5 billion in inflows over the last week with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) gaining about $1.2 billion of those assets. ETFs lacking Bank of America shares have underperformed and analysts warn that they may do so going forward, reports Shanthi Bharatwag for The Street. [ETFs That Access High-Price Stocks]

Shares of Bank of America have almost doubled since the start of 2012, lately hovering around $10. Since the beginning of March the stock has gained about 25%, leading the latest large cap bank rally. [ETF Chart of the Day: Banks]

As KBW analyst Fred Cannon wrote in a note Tuesday, large-cap banks have outperformed the sector, with the KBW Bank Index gaining 26% year to date compared to the S&P Banks Select Industry Index, up 22.3%, with both topping the overall S&P Financial Select Sector Index (IXM) performance, which is up 20.96%.

Bank of America has had a reversal of fortune based on signs that the U.S. economy is re-gaining strength. Bank of America dropped 58% last year on concern over rising mortgage risks and the uncertainty over the European debt crisis, reports Hug Son for Bloomberg. [Can Financial ETFs Take Out 2011 High?]

Other top-performing financial ETFs:

  • PowerShares KBW Bank Portfolio (NYSEArca: KBWB)
  • Market Vectors Bank and Brokerage ETF (NYSEArca: RKH)
  • RevenueShares Financial (NYSEArca: RWW)
  • iShares Dow Jones US Financial Services Fund (NYSEArca: IYG)

PowerShares KBW Bank Portfolio

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.