The market is under a decent amount of duress, dropping more than 2% on Friday. Despite a decent earnings season so far and lots of positive economic news, stocks had their first 2% selloff since 2015, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 666 points.
This is all related to interest rates.
Most of the time good news is good news and bad news is bad news, however, every so often we catch lightning in a bottle and the world turns upside down. In terms of the markets, cats are friends with dogs, lions are sleeping with lambs, and a great non-farm payrolls number is bad news. This is because the market is terrified of the Fed right now.
Markets are worried that the central bank is going to get too aggressive with interest rates in order to stave off inflation. As interest rates rise, it makes bonds more attractive and many other trades less attractive, notably stocks, especially income-producing stocks such as utilities and blue-chips with large dividends.
So, we are in a scenario where good news is bad news because good news makes bonds drop, and right now bonds and stocks are correlating (also unusual and a bad thing). The market is going to keep dropping until stocks and bonds start acting normal again.
Given this scenario is there anything worth owning, or should investors wait until the market normalizes again? The answer is yes. In fact there are trades that should be done right now because any softness in the stock is completely ludicrous.
If you watched the market closely on Friday you would have seen that right up until the end of the day the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) was up for more than half the day. It took a drop of 60 points in the S&P 500 to finally get the KRE negative.
These are the banks that most benefit from a run up interest rates. While the huge banks have trading activity, and all types of complex ways of making money, Huntington actually makes most of its dollars from interest income. An increase in interest rates greatly benefits all of the banks in KRE.
Additionally, these are the names that are also extra sensitive to growth in the U.S. economy. The Atlanta Fed estimated that the U.S. economy will grow over 5% in the first quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) will do exceptionally well if that is the case (as will all the banks in KRE).
Thus, on Monday, assuming we are down again, the KRE ETF will be one of the best scoops an investor can make. Yes, it's had a nice run of late (as has the whole market), but I believe KRE has a short trip up to $70. And as the market normalizes, look for KRE to outperform the S&P 500 and certainly the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) .
As an option trader I would look at the June 65 calls because I think they are cheap. However, for non-traders, I love simply buying KRE.
Mark Sebastian is a regular contributor to Real Money Pro, our site for active traders. Click here to get daily market commentary and trade ideas from Mark Sebastian, Paul Price, Doug Kass and many others.