Historical S&P 500 Sector Weightings

Includes: SPY
by: Bespoke Investment Group

Below is an update of a regular post here on Think B.I.G., looking at historical sector weightings of the S&P 500. With the bull market turning four years old over the weekend, we thought now was as good a time as any to provide an update.

In the table below we highlight current S&P 500 sector weightings, along with where they stood at the start of the bull market as well as at the end of 2012. As shown, Technology is still the largest sector of the market at 18.13%, while Financials is the second largest at 16.11%. Health Care, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Energy and Consumer Staples are all bunched up together between 10% and 12%. Then at the bottom of the list around 3% are Utilities, Materials and Telecom.

The Financial sector has seen the largest gains since the bull market began as well as since the start of 2013. Since March 2009, the Financial sector has increased its weighting by 7.53 percentage points. It was just the sixth largest sector at the lows of the financial crisis, but it has come roaring back over the last four years. The gains for the Financial sector have been taken from Health Care, Consumer Staples and Energy, which have all lost more than three percentage points in weighting since March 2009. The Technology sector's weighting has remained remarkably stable over the last four years.

There has been quite a big change in the weightings of Technology and Financials so far this year, however. As shown, the Financial sector has picked up 0.47 percentage points in weighting since the start of the year, while the Technology sector has lost 0.81 percentage points. This puts the spread between the two at its lowest level in a couple of years.

The chart below shows the difference in S&P 500 weighting between the two largest sectors of the market -- Technology and Financials -- since 1990. When the line is above zero, Technology has a bigger weighting than Financials, and vice versa when the line is below zero. As shown, Technology obviously had a huge lead over Financials during the Internet bubble of the late 1990s, and then the Financial sector took a big lead on Technology during the housing/credit boom of the mid-2000s. During the financial sector crash of 2008/2009, Technology once again took a pretty big lead, but the Financial sector has been chipping away at that lead ever since. Will the Financial sector once again become the largest sector of the market one day soon?

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Below are charts of historical S&P 500 sector weightings going back to 1990. In each chart, the red line represents the average weighting over the entire 23-plus-year time period, so you can easily see which sectors are currently above or below their historical averages. Interestingly, Consumer Discretionary has seen the second largest increase in its weighting since the start of the bull market, but it's still below its historical average because of how large its weighting was in the 1990s.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge