Below is a look at the path that S&P 500 sectors have taken in 2021.  The Energy sector has been the clear standout from the start, taking a commanding lead early on and outperforming every other sector by more than 20 percentage points by the end of the first quarter.  Since Q1, Energy has traded flat, however, which has allowed other sectors to play catch up.  Even still, Energy is up 39% on the year, which is 12 percentage points better than the next best sector — Real Estate.  The Financials sector ranks third best with a YTD gain of 26%.  Utilities and Consumer Staples — both defensives — rank at the bottom of the pack with YTD gains of just 3-4%.

Looking back 12 months instead of on a year-to-date basis, Consumer Staples and Utilities remain the weakest, while it’s Financials that ranks first with a gain of 57%.  Industrials ranks second at +52%, while Energy ranks third at +48%.  Tech, Materials, and Communication Services have been the next best with gains of 43%.

Looking even further back to the start of 2020 just before COVID hit, we see that Technology moves to the top of the list with a gain of 65%.  Consumer Discretionary ranks second at +50%, followed by Communication Services at +49%.

While they’ve been some of the best sectors in 2021, Financials and Industrials are in the middle of the pack with gains of 20% and 27%, respectively, since the start of 2020.

Finally, the Energy sector — up 39% YTD and by far the best sector so far in 2021 — is actually still in the red with a decline of 13% since the start of 2020.  So even after a massive move higher off of the COVID-Crash lows in March 2020, those who owned the Energy sector prior to COVID aren’t even back to even yet.  Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options and sign up for a trial to any one of them.

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