Why some say it’s about to get even better for the financial stocks

Financials closed out 2016 as one of the top-performing sectors of the year, and according to one portfolio manager, the new year should have investors banking on financial stocks.

Thanks to the post-election rally fueled by Donald Trump's victory, the financials surged to finish the year up 20 percent from where the sector started in January. With JPMorgan hitting all-time highs in the first trading day of the year, Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel Nicolaus, predicts that 2017 will be another banner year for the banks.

"Due in part to [a less stringent regulatory environment], we think that the banking sector is going to re-lever," Morganlander said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch" alluding to Trump's proposed easing of regulations on financial companies.

Along with the possibility of three interest rate rises in the coming year and Morganlander's own observation that mortgage credit is starting to expand, both of which would also be good for banks, leads the portfolio manager to be overweight financials.

For excited investors looking to get into the financials, turning to the options market may be the way to go. Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation," Todd Gordon of TradingAnalysis.com showed that from what he sees, the financials-tracking ETF (XLF) is trading in a "sideways consolidation," but still following an upward trend that began at the end of last year.

As a result, Gordon bought the Feb 22-strike calls for $1.81, with an expiration date of Feb 17. This means that Gordon is paying $181 per options spread on a bet that the XLF will close above $23.81 on Feb 17.

But Piper Jaffray technician Craig Johnson believes that investors may want to wait to buy the surging sector. He believes that the XLF has hit its price target, and a better buying opportunity is likely in the future.

"Right now you've reached that measured objective and every time I see us reach this measured objective, you usually consolidate back and fill for a little bit," Johnson said on "Power Lunch." "Look for some backing and filling in the financials, and use that as an opportunity to be buying the stocks through the year."


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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