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Banking Earnings Mixed, ETFs Gain Moderately

Sanghamitra Saha

The Q1 earnings season has been pretty moderate so far for the financial sector, which accounts for around one-fifth of the S&P 500 index. Three big banks have crushed estimates on both the lines while three reported mixed results (read: Forget Rate Woes, Bank ETFs to Stay Strong on Unicorn IPOs).

Let’s take a look at major banking earnings releases in detail:

Big Bank Earnings in Focus

JPMorgan’s JPM first-quarter 2019 earnings of $2.65 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.32. The figure improved 12% from the prior-year quarter. Net revenues were $29.1 billion, up 4% from the year-ago quarter. The top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $28 billion.

Wells Fargo WFC posted quarterly adjusted earnings of $1.20 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.08. This compares to earnings of $1.12 per share a year ago. Total revenues came in at $21.6 billion, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $20.9 billion. However, the reported figure compares unfavorably with the prior-year quarter’s $21.9 billion.

Citigroup’s (Cquarterly adjusted earnings of $1.87 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.78. The company had posted earnings of $1.68 per share a year ago. Revenues declined 2% year over year to $18.6 billion in the first quarter. The reported figure also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $18.8 billion.

Bank of America’s (BAC) first-quarter 2019 earnings of 70 cents per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents. The figure rose 13% from the prior-year quarter. Net revenues amounted to $23 billion, which marginally lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $23.2 billion. The reported figure declined slightly on a year-over-year basis.

Goldman Sachs’ GS first-quarter 2019 earnings per share of $5.71 comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.74. However, the bottom line compared unfavorably with earnings of $6.95 recorded in the year-earlier quarter. Net revenues were down 13% year over year to $8.8 billion in the quarter under review. In addition, revenues lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9 billion.

Morgan Stanley’s MS first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $1.33 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.17. The figure declined 8% year over year. Results in the reported quarter exclude discrete tax benefits. Net revenues of $10.29 billion showed a decline of 7% from the prior-year quarter. However, the top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $10.0 billion.

Market Impact

Against this backdrop, investors might be wondering how financial ETFs like iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF IYG, iShares US Financials ETF IYF, Invesco KBW Bank ETF KBWB, Financial Select Sector SPDR XLF and Vanguard Financials ETF VFH have responded to the earnings releases. These funds have considerable exposure to the aforementioned stocks (see all Financial ETFs here).

Goldman and Morgan Stanley are not that prominent in the afore-mentioned ETFs, but are rather heavy on iShares U.S. Broker-Dealers & Securities Exchanges ETF IAI.

Most of these ETFs put up a decent performance in the last five days — which markedthe peak of banking earnings releases. Some upbeat data points released lately in the U.S. economy may result in the steepening of the yield curve, pushing these ETFs higher.