That didn’t take long.
On Thursday the Federal Reserve reported that all 23 big banks tested in its annual stress test, passed. Which means that the last remaining restrictions on dividend increases and share buybacks are now history.
Yesterday big banks started to announce dividend increases. Morgan Stanley (MS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) both doubled their dividends to $0.70 a share and $0.20 a share, respectively. The nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) increased its dividend to $1.00 per share from $0.90 per share. Goldman Sachs (GS) increased its dividend by 60% to $2 a share. US Bancorp (USP) announced a 10% dividend increase, the first for the bank since 2019.
And banks also announced plans to increase buybacks. JPMorgan Chase, for example, confirmed plans to buyback $30 billion in shares over the next 12 months.
Citigroup (C) has an exception. The bank didn’t report plans to raise its dividend beyond the already announced 51 cents a share quarterly rate and said only that it would continue with its prior share buyback plan.
Mot bank stocks ended lower at the close today in what I see as a classic buy the rumor (everybody thought that banks would pass the Fed’s test and that they would raise dividends) and sell the news. JPMorgan Chase, for example, slipped 0.09% today but was up 22.87% for 2021 to date before today’s session. Wells Fargo (WFC), which dropped 2.14% today , was up 52.39% for 2021 to date. US Bancorp, down 0.8% today, was up 24.40 for 2021 to date. The Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB), down 0.81% today, was up 24.40% for 2021 to date before today’s trading.
Bank stocks are, in my opinion, one of the best groups to own for this stage of the economy. They’re seeing a pick up in revenue as consumer and business lending picks up and banks will see an increase in their net interest margin if interest rates rise.
I own the Invesco KMW Bank ETF in my Perfect 5 ETF Portfolio and in my Jubak Picks Portfolio where it’s up 6.64% since my March 4 pick. I own Citigroup in my Dividend Portfolio where it’s up 19.87% from my December 8, 2020 pick. And I own US Bancorp in my Jubak Picks Portfolio where it’s up 2.57% since my March 19 2021 pick.