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Geopolitics might not thwart a recovery in bank shares

All nine constituents of the S&P 500 diversified banks index have now released their earnings reports for Q1. While the performance of their shares has typically been underwhelming of late, in some cases that can be only partly attributed to the lukewarm reception to their results. Two other factors have probably been more important. The first is the recent surge in long-term Treasury yields, which has taken some of the wind out of the broader stock market’s sails, thereby weighing on the absolute performance of banks’ shares. The second is the ratcheting up of tensions in the Middle East, which has also sapped appetite for risk. Yet, despite a recent pull-back, we now think the prospects for US banks’ shares in general are a bit brighter.

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