This earnings season has been a positive one for the S&P 500’s financial sector. After struggling for most of 2015, the financials have moved up to a year-to-date gain of 3 percent now, inching ahead of the broader S&P 500 index, which has risen by 2.8 percent.
The sector has benefited from generally strong earnings reports, not just for big banks like Wells Fargo but entities like the brokerage Charles Schwab and Vornado Realty Trust, one of the nation’s biggest real estate investment trusts. The results from the quarter mean that the financials’ cumulative performance for the past five years is now stronger than that of the entire S&P. Only the health care, consumer discretionary and tech sectors can also make that claim.
Wells Fargo can now claim the mantle of the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, surpassing the former leader, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China that of J.P. Morgan, which is still the largest U.S. bank by assets and hit its own all-time share price record in late June.