Market Insider

Bank stocks are zooming, hit their highest level since September 2008

A man walks by One Chase Plaza in lower Manhattan
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Bank stocks were on a tear Thursday.

The SPDR Bank ETF (KBE) rose 4.06 percent and hit its highest level since September 2008 on the back of a sharp rally in financials.

The sector has led the benchmark S&P 500 for two days in a row following the shocking victory by Republican Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election. The surge in financials has been attributed, in part, to the possibility of deregulation within the sector under a Trump presidency.

As of Thursday's close, financials were up 11.29 percent year-to-date and were among the five best-performing sectors for 2016.

Financials 2016 chart

Source: FactSet

Contributing to the sector's gains were shares of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which hit new 52-week highs during the session, and were up 4.64 percent and 4.28 percent, respectively.

Mike Mayo, a closely followed bank analyst at brokerage firm CLSA, raised the price targets of every stock he covers, including JPMorgan, following Trump's electoral win. He expects banks to continue grinding higher.

"Bank stocks are teed up for outperformance this year," Mayo told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report" on Thursday. "This is the end of a seven-year drought. [For] seven years, banks have been fighting headwinds ... of rates, revenues and regulation, and they're at an inflection point."