It has now been a month since US equities bottomed from their two-day sell-off following the 6/23 UK referendum to leave the EU. With that, we wanted to recap which sectors and industries within the S&P 500 have led and lagged the market since then. We’ll start with sectors. The chart below shows the performance of each S&P 500 sector since the close on 6/27. While the S&P 500 is up 8.2%, five sectors have outperformed and five have underperformed. Leading the way higher, Technology (+12.7%) has been a big outperformer, boosted by semiconductors, Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) among others. On the downside, with the exception of Consumer Discretionary which has just barely underperformed, the four other sectors that have underperformed off the Brexit lows are all lagging by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the three sectors that are up the least during this monster rally are all defensives.
Digging a little deeper into industry returns post-Brexit, there are 60 different industries within the S&P 500 classification. Of those 60 industries, 59 are up and just one is down. In terms of the winners, semiconductors have been the topic of conversation recently, but three other industries are actually doing better. As shown, Building Products (+19.6%), Airlines (+18.6%), and Metals and Mining (18.0%) have all outpaced the 17.5% gain in the semis. Overall, the list of top performing industries is an interesting mix between technology, cyclicals, and even the brokers (Capital Markets).
As mentioned above, there’s just one industry in the S&P 500 where investors have been burned since the Brexit lows, and that industry is Tobacco (-1.9%). As a testament to just how strong the rally has been, besides Tobacco, just seven other industries are up less than 5%. While a lot of the laggards are from defensive industries, Energy related ones also showed up on the list on the recent weakness in crude oil.