Asset Class Trend: Defensive Sectors Are Still In Favor

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 |  Includes: AEP, D, DUK, ED, EXC, FE, IYZ, NEE, PEG, PPL, SO, VTI, XLB, XLE, XLF, XLI, XLK, XLP, XLU, XLV, XLY
by: MyPlanIQ

U.S. stock market rose 0.87% for the week (Vanguard total stock market ETF VTI). S&P 500 is again sitting at around 1250 line (1255 to be exact). With markets swinging back and forth, it is important to look at the market internals. The following table shows how S&P 9 sectors plus telecom sector (NYSEARCA:IYZ) have been doing recently:

U.S. Sectors Trend 12/09/2011

Performance data are based on closing prices on last Friday

Description Symbol 1 Week 4 Weeks 13 Weeks 26 Weeks 52 Weeks Trend Score
Utilities XLU 0.72% -1.02% 6.72% 7.24% 16.1% 5.95%
Consumer Staples XLP 0.85% 1.68% 7.46% 5.02% 13.01% 5.6%
Consumer Discretionary XLY 0.72% -0.3% 11.47% 4.65% 6.47% 4.6%
Technology XLK 1.17% -0.46% 11.27% 5.95% 4.91% 4.57%
Healthcare XLV 0.93% -0.73% 6.35% -1.85% 10.26% 2.99%
Industries XLI 0.77% 0.12% 13.18% -2.51% 0.74% 2.46%
Energy XLE -0.32% -2.86% 8.6% -3.55% 8.17% 2.01%
Materials XLB 0.29% -3.04% 3.35% -8.29% -6.4% -2.82%
Financial XLF 1.47% -1.02% 7.53% -11.01% -15.74% -3.75%
Telecom IYZ -0.81% -2.44% -0.9% -12.63% -5.96% -4.55%
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The trend score is defined as the average of 1,4,13,26 and 52 week total returns (including dividend reinvested).

The above table shows that traditional defensive sectors: Utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU) and Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP) are still at the top of the table. In the meantime, Financial sector (enough has been said on this sector), which is usually a very cyclical and risk indicator, is at the bottom.

Noticeably, technology sector (NYSEARCA:XLK) has been doing well. In the past 4 years, technology sector, traditionally very sensitive to economic cycles, did much better than financial and basic materials.

The top 10 holdings of Spider (SPDR) utility sector ETF (XLU) are as follows:

Company Symbol % Assets
Southern Company (The) Common S SO 8.87
Dominion Resources, Inc. Common D 6.92
Exelon Corporation Common Stock EXC 6.91
Duke Energy Corporation (Holdin DUK 6.03
NextEra Energy, Inc. Common Sto NEE 5.51
American Electric Power Company AEP 4.53
FirstEnergy Corporation Common FE 4.38
Consolidated Edison, Inc. Commo ED 4.12
PP&L Corporation Common Stock PPL 4.10
Public Service Enterprise Group PEG 3.92
Click to enlarge

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.