Financial stocks have been a bit of a puzzle.
Investors may think that with a central bank on a firm tightening path, industry deregulation efforts in play and high expectations for banks' growth heading into this year, financial firms would be thriving.
But they're badly lagging the market, and fund flows paint an ugly picture.
During the four weeks ending Friday, the XLF, the S&P 500 financial sector ETF, has seen the largest outflows in three years. The financials have fallen more than 4 percent while the S&P 500 has risen a bit more than 1 percent in that time. Investors have pulled roughly $2.5 billion out of financials ETFs in the last month.