Banks just posted the longest losing streak ever, and it could get a lot worse

It’s a big bust in the big bank space.

Financials just extended their losing streak into a 13th straight session, a record for the sector.

The XLF financial ETF's sell-off has caused major technical damage to the charts, according to Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

“Look at that XLF, it’s broken some key support levels,” Maley told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “It broke below its trend line going back to the 2016 lows, and it’s done it in a meaningful way.”

“It’s also broken below its 200-day moving average which has given it good support all year this year ,and now it’s broken slightly below the bottom end of its lows for this year,” Maley added.

Such a lengthy sell-off could inspire a small rebound, though it would likely only be short-lived, says Maley.

“It might be able to bounce right back a little bit on a near-term basis,” said Maley. But, “I think it’s going to be tough for these banks to bounce back in a major way, especially the international banks, the J.P. Morgans, the Citigroups, Bank of Americas of the world.”

Like most of the S&P 500, financials have been victim to intensifying trade tensions between the U.S. and major economic powers, said BK Asset Management’s Boris Schlossberg.

“The protectionist impulse basically hurts financials in two ways: It cools global trade and therefore economic transactions, but it also creates more risk-aversion flows in the market and therefore more runs to the Treasurys and more flattening of the yield curve,” Schlossberg said on Wednesday’s “Trading Nation.” “All these dynamics are kind of like a toxic brew for the financials.”

The yield curve, which measures the difference between short-term and long-term bond yields, is now at its flattest level since August 2007. The flatter the yield curve, the tighter a bank’s net interest margin, which exacts more pressure on its profitability.

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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.

Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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