Here's Why Big Bank Stocks Are Falling

The biggest U.S. banks are kicking earnings season into gear this week, Bank stocks are getting hit even worse. The financial sector -- going by the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (is down by more than 3%, and big banks are some of its worst performers. Bank of America is down by 4.4%, JPMorgan Chase has dropped by 3.4%, and Wells Fargo  is 3.2% lower. Most other major bank stocks are also underperforming the major averages by a significant margin. Bank stocks have dropped about 35% year-to-date, nearly wiping out last year's gains. Options traders are betting the pandemic-induced crisis will send shares swinging wildly, with implied volatility nearly triple what it was heading into January's earnings calls.   bank stocks are responding to the fact that benchmark interest rates have taken an unprecedented nosedive. The 10-year Treasury yield has reached new all-time lows several times over the past couple of weeks, and after the Federal Reserve decided to do an emergency rate cut of 50 basis points today, the benchmark Treasury's yield dropped below 1% for the first time ever. (For perspective, it was over 3% as recently as late 2018, and ended 2019 at around 2%.) JPMorgan’s Dimon, who’s up first this morning along with Wells Fargo, already conceded “earnings will be down meaningfully in 2020” in last week’s letter to shareholders. Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs report to, and Morgan Stanley will follow up to.  Investors will be listening closely for banks to give details on any relief they're offering to affected customers and workers, as well as when execs think things will return to "normal," whatever that means anymore.

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