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Tim Smith
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Regional banking stocks have outpaced the broader stock market by nearly 30% so far this year as investors bet on a domestic recovery on the heels of a successful vaccine rollout and additional stimulus measures.

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On the latter front, the group added to recent gains Wednesday after Congress passed a highly anticipated $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that includes payments for small businesses and a $1,400 stimulus check for many Americans, as well as a $300 per week emergency unemployment benefit that extends through September.

Here are three leading regional bank stocks that active traders should consider adding to their watchlist.

KeyCorp

With assets over $150 billion, KeyCorp (KEY) provides a variety of financial services in 16 states, with a key focus on Ohio and New York. The Cleveland-based bank grew its bottom line 24% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, driven by higher loan balances and lower provisions. As of March 11, 2021, the shares offer a healthy 3.62% dividend yield and trade 28.95% higher on the year.

From a chart perspective, the price has formed a pennant pattern near the December 2019 high. Those who buy at current levels should use a trailing stop – such as a 15-day SMA – to let profits run.

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SVB Financial Group

Headquartered in Santa Clara, SVB Financial Group (SIVB) offers a range of banking services through four segments: Global Commercial Bank, SVB Private Bank, SVB Capital, and SVB Leerink. The bank disclosed Q4 adjusted earnings of $7.40 per share on revenues of $1.21 billion, with both metrics coming in ahead of Wall Street forecasts and growing 46% and 43%, respectively, from the December 2019 quarter. Although SVB Financial stock does not issue a dividend, it has returned 36.43% since the start of the year as of March 11, 2021.

From a technical standpoint, traders who use the current retracement as a buying opportunity should place an initial stop under the recent swing low and trail it higher as the uptrend continues.

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (PNC) operates as a diversified financial services company, providing its customers with everything from corporate and institutional banking to asset management. The company, which has 2,300 branches in 21 states and the District of Columbia, posted Q4 earnings per share (EPS) of $3.26, comfortably ahead of the $2.65 analysis had expected. Moreover, the bottom line improved 10% from the year-ago period, benefiting from a decline in expenses and a recapture of provisions. As of March 11, 2021, the stock yields 2.65% and has gained nearly 20% year to date (YTD).

Chart-wise, a pennant that has formed over the past few weeks indicates a continuation of the current uptrend. Traders who buy could use the measured move technique to book profits. To do this, calculate the distance – in dollars – of the leg that proceeded the pattern, and add that amount to the pennant’s top trendline. For example, add $38.90 to $179 for a target of $217.90.

For a look at today’s earnings schedule, check out our earnings calendar.

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