Over the past three months, ETFs in the financial sector have surged higher thanks to declining fears over European debt crises and solid bank earnings that have managed to keep loan losses in check despite slow growth levels in many developed markets. However, just when everything seemed to be back to normal in the banking sector, the latest scandal hit–this time regarding the industry’s treatment of foreclosures.
In this newest issue, many of the largest financial institutions in the country have been accused of falsifying documents and illegally evicting people from homes. In fact, some are claiming that “the banks may have purposely lost the loan documents in order to mislead investors.” By some estimates, close to $154 billion in defaulted home loans fall into this category of mortgages which could require more scrutiny and could be suspect to having faulty paperwork or outright fraud. In response to this growing crisis, a number of banks had halted all foreclosure proceedings across the country in an attempt to get a better grip on the situation and figure out how to move forward.
One company that has been at the heart of the issue has been the financial giant Bank of America (BAC), which has been hard hit by rumors over the depth of the disaster. The company services more loans than any other bank and has the most to lose among the major financial companies in terms of total dollar losses. However, the company has begun to restart its foreclosure process in 23 states, suggesting that the issue may not be as bad as some have made it out to be. Shares of Bank of America soared on the news that the process was restarting and finished Monday trading higher by almost 3% [see all the ETFs in the Financials ETFdb Category].
The company looks to remain in focus later today as it reports its third quarter earnings at 8:30 am eastern time. Analysts expect the lending giant to post earnings of 16 cents a share on revenues of $27.2 billion, figures that compare favorably to last year’s numbers for the same quarter, which showed a loss of 26 cents a share on similar revenues. While the company’s profits are important, look for comments on the company’s plan to deal with the rising foreclosure problem and guidance for the rest of 2010 to drive the stock during Tuesday trading [see Beyond XLF: Five Alternatives To The Popular Financial ETF].
With this report on tap, the RevenueShares Financial Sector Fund (RWW), which allocates 10.9% of its assets to Bank of America, should be active in Tuesday Trading. RWW implements a novel structure in order to weight its holdings; it tracks the RevenueShares Financial Sector Index, which tracks the financial sector of the S&P 500 but weights each security by top line revenue instead of market capitalization. In addition to a hefty weighting to BAC, the fund also offers greater than 9% to both Citigroup and JP Morgan, two companies which seem likely to be impacted by Bank of America’s news as well [see all the ETFs that offer exposure to BAC by using our new Stock Lookup Tool].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.