The slow start to the year for the S&P 500 is a stark contrast to 2013's rally. We took a look at how each sector, industry group and industry is performing YTD vs last year.
The first trend that jumps out is the dominance of Healthcare. Last year Healthcare was the best performing sector, Pharma, Biotech and Life Sciences was the second-best performing industry group, and health-related industries made up four of the top 15 performing industries. In 2014, Healthcare is the highest return sector (up 2.33% YTD), while at the industry group level two of the three best performing groups on the year are Healthcare Equipment and Services (up 2.80%) and Pharma, Biotech and Life Sciences (up 2.11%). At the industry level, five of the top 10 performing industries are Healthcare components, averaging a 2.48% return.
Secondly, this year's outperformers versus losers are a healthy mix between cyclical and non-cylclical stocks. As the market has traded sideways, segments that have been traditionally more defensive plays (Utilities or Consumer Staples at the sector level, Food, Beverages and Tobacco at the industry group level and Tobacco at the industry level) have underperformed right along with pro-cyclical segments (Technology sector, Consumer Durables and Apparel industry group, Industrial Conglomerates and Leisure and Equipment Products industries). Outperformance has come from Financials at the sector level, the Pharma, Biotech and Life Sciences and Real Estate industry groups, and the Airlines industry. Most segments that would traditionally suffer in a slow market.
Below are tables showing sector, industry group and industry performance of the S&P 500 for 2013 and 2014 YTD.