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Bank stocks reached highs not seen in close to 10 years on Tuesday, as investors piled into a financial services sector set to benefit from continued deregulation and rising corporate profits.

Expand chart
Data: S&P Dow Jones Indices; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The latest deregulatory push coming from Washington is an attempt to loosen Volcker Rule regulations, which are meant to bar banks from using taxpayer-insured funds to make speculative bets. In practice, it has been difficult to distinguish between that behavior and client-focused activities, like acting as a middleman between buyers and sellers of stock, and banks say complying with rule is expensive.

Why it matters: The financial services sector is an indicator for investor sentiment towards the economy more broadly, but it's also evidence of the bank-friendly climate in Washington, a trend voters may want to put a stop to in 2018 and 2020.

Go deeper

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

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