Market Commentary

Senate and Congress Members Are Offloading Bank Stocks

Raza Akram · 1 minute read

With Invesco KBW Regional Banking ETF (KBWR:US) down nearly 10% since early November, a few members of Congress and Senate are reducing their exposure to the banking sector. KBWR is widely regarded as a benchmark stock index for the banking sector.

The ETF closed about 7.25% lower in 2022, outperforming the S&P 500 (down more than 19%). While KBWR was moving mostly lower in the closing weeks of 2022, the ETF jumped on Friday after the softer-than-expected wage growth in the U.S. sparked a risk-on rally, helping KBWR to climb by over 3% and record its best day in 8 weeks.

Still, disclosures from the Senate and Congress in recent days show that elected Politicians are selling individual bank stocks. For instance, Senator Thomas Carper sold $15,000 - $50,000 worth of JPMorgan & Chase (JPM:US) shares on December 29. 

Similarly, Congresswoman Cindy Axne was selling shares of Jefferies Financial Group (JEF:US) on December 23, when the financial stock closed at $34.94. On the last trading day of 2022, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse disclosed he offloaded some Citigroup (C:US) shares on November 29

Congresswoman Susie Lee was also lowering her exposure to the financial sector as she sold shares of Ally Financial (ALLY:US) and Discover Financial Services (DFS:US) - the latter is the owner of Discover Bank. Around Christmas time, senior Republican Representative Michael McCaul disclosed he sold a large chunk of Charles Schwab (SCHW:US) and Morgan Stanley (MS:US) shares.

It remains to be seen how bank stocks will behave in 2023 as the Fed hinted it aims to keep rates “higher for longer.”