ISM Numbers Boost Bank Stocks

Bank stocks are getting a nice push today after the Institute for Supply Management sector grew slightly in May.

The index that tracks new orders in the U.S. services sector edged up a couple ticks from 53.5 in April to 53.7 last month. Because services make up the majority of the U.S. economy, the improvement in the numbers – albeit slight – is at least a sign that the economy isn’t backtracking.

And bank stocks are reaping the benefits of the slight improvement.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) has made the biggest leap forward, with a 3.3% gain. Citigroup (NYSE: C) is up 3%. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) are both up around 2.5%. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) have posted more modest gains, with both stocks up just over 1%.

The markets as a whole haven’t made as much headway. The S&P 500 has made the biggest move forward, jumping 0.3%.

But as our own Jason Cimpl has preached in recent months, bank stocks have been the market leaders. When stocks rallied over the year’s first four months, all the big banks posted double-digit gains. As bank stocks have tanked over the last month-plus, so too has the rest of the market.  

So the beaten-down market could use a few more rallies like we’re seeing from bank stocks today.

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