With just eleven days left in the first quarter, it certainly isn’t looking like it’s going to go out the way it came in. While the year started with equity markets ripping higher, led by FANG, equities can’t seem to catch a break lately as any gains seem to be met with selling. Looking out over the final days of Q1, any strength that the market has shown in the final days of Q1 over the last ten years has been on the defensive side with sectors known for their higher yields leading the way.
The chart below is from our Stock Seasonality Tool (available to Premium and Institutional members), where you can look up seasonal trends for the US market, sectors, individual stocks, ETFs, foreign markets, and even your own custom portfolios in just a few easy clicks. Using the tool , we have screened the S&P 500 for its performance from the close on March 20th through the end of the month. If you run the screen yourself with the same criteria, you will not only see the chart below, but the screen will also show the best and worst performing stocks in the S&P 500, as well as the five best and worst performing stocks in each sector. If you click on the “Custom Seasonality Analysis” section, you can refine your “US Equity Markets” search further by market cap and number of years to analyze. For “Global Equity Indices” you can refine the search by region, and for ETFs you can narrow down your search by Styles, Sectors, Groups, Regions, Countries, Currencies, Commodities, Fixed Income, and Hedged/Leveraged.
Real Estate has been the top performing sector from March 20th through March 31st with a median gain of 1.47%. After Real Estate, the next best-performing sectors are Utilities, Consumer Staples, Consumer Discretionary and Telecom Services. While these sectors have seen median gains of close to 1% or more, the S&P 500’s median gain has been 0.36%, and no other sector has seen a gain of more than 0.50%. On the downside, Financials have been the worst performing sector with a median decline of 0.50%, and the only other sector that has been down is Materials (-0.21%).
With five of eleven sectors seeing median gains of close to 1% or more, you may be asking yourself how the S&P 500’s median performance is so much lower. A big part of that has to do with the weighting of the five sectors that have outperformed. With sectors like Real Estate, Utilities, and Telecom Services each accounting for less than a 3% weight in the index, their gains don’t move the needle very much. In fact, even when you account for both consumer sectors, the combined weight of the five top performing sectors totals just over 27%, which is only two percentage points more than the 25%+ weighting of the Technology sector.