Wall Street Times

Investors now prioritizing regional bank stocks

Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos

Investors Despite the fact that the United States is in the midst of a financial crisis, Main Street investors are flocking to bank equities.

The tendency demonstrates that cheap pricing, even if prompted by the fear of an approaching collapse, entices individuals to invest in an industry.

Early trading

Individual investors purchased more than $20,000 in First Republic Bank (FRC) stock on a daily basis in January and February.

Following the liquidation of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10, the daily average increased to $10.3 million on April 10, according to VandaTrack.

The TD Ameritrade Investment Movement Index measures retail traders, and in March, its clients made net purchases at First Republic Bank.

Concerns about the overall health of the banking system, as well as uninsured deposits, prompted the company’s shares to drop by more than 88%.

Despite the fact that it is still early, the optimism has yet to bear fruit.


First Republic just hit a share price of $15, down from $115 to $145 in early 2023.

Meanwhile, PacWest Bancorp (PACW) saw post-SVB retail net purchases of its shares grow to an average of $2.9 million per day, a considerable increase following a period of zero activity in early 2023.

The regional bank has also suffered as a result of the current disaster.

Buyers got a good bargain, paying $9 per share for a firm that was previously valued at around $30.

Total net purchases in the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF, which tracks numerous mid-sized banks, have risen to $3.9 million per day on average.

The commerce has risen considerably from net sales of $120,000 in the first two months of 2023.

Regional banks, on the other hand, are not the only ones who have suffered.

According to VandaTrack data, individual investors were flocking to large bank shares such as:

  • Bank of America (BAC)
  • Citi (C) Group
  • JPMorgan Chase (JPM)
  • Wells Fargo (WFCPRL)

TD Ameritrade also revealed that retail investor purchasing interest in the banking sector was particularly high, declining by nearly 10% throughout the time.

According to Marco Iachini, senior vice president of research at VandaTrack, individual investors were seeking a way to profit from the banking industry’s resurgence.

He also asserted that institutional investors, or “smart money,” were pulling their money out of riskier regional bank stocks.


JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon cautioned last week that the banking crisis was far from finished.

He also cautioned that the crisis’s consequences will be seen in the coming years, casting doubt on investors anticipating substantial increases in regional bank shares.

Iachani labeled it speculative, warning that it may be harmful for normal investors.

Although retail flows into bank shares remain strong, they have declined dramatically since mid-March.

“That tells me retail capital isn’t here to stay,” said Iachini.

He also mentioned that there has yet to be a big rebound.

Instead, we’re witnessing a watered-down version of what occurred early in the pandemic, when individual investors backed meme stocks.

Read also: Jamie Dimon cautions economic danger

Japan trading houses

Warren Buffet, the “Oracle of Omaha,” has moved his focus to Japan.

Buffet told the Japanese news site Nikkei on Tuesday that he intends to invest in Japan.

Berkshire Hathaway, his firm, said in August 2020 that it had bought a 5% investment in the following:

  • Itochu
  • Marubeni
  • Mitsubishi
  • Mitsui
  • Sumitomo

In November, Buffet extended his investment in financial “trading houses.”

Foreign investors generally avoid participating in Japanese trading houses because of the organizations’ tremendous complexity, which has firm divisions all over the world, and their engagement in the following:

  • Financing
  • Importing/exporting
  • Investing
  • Trading

Japan’s commercial firms are likewise notoriously secretive regarding their business operations.

Buffet, on the other hand, indicated on Wednesday that the complexity of investing in them does not bother him.

“We feel that these five companies are a cross section of not only Japan, but of the world,” said the Oracle of Omaha.

“They are really so much similar to Berkshire. They own a lot of different things.”

This week, Warren Buffet intended to visit all five firms to evaluate their operations and express his support.

Buffet would also like to invest in other Japanese enterprises.

“At the moment, we only own the five trading companies,” he said.

“There are always a few I’m thinking about.”

Following the interview, the five firms’ stock prices surged.


On Tuesday, Chicago Fed President Austin Goolsbee discussed the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, as well as the resulting volatility.

“At moments of financial stress like this, the right monetary policy is really caution and watchfulness and prudence,” said Goolsbee.

“And I don’t say that because I think we should stop prioritizing the fight against inflation just because the markets got upset.”

He also emphasized that financial difficulties should not trump monetary policy, saying:

“History has taught us that in moments of financial stress, even if they don’t escalate into a crisis, they often mean tighter credit conditions and have a material impact on the real economy in a way that the Fed absolutely needs to take into account when setting monetary policy.”