After another rally today, the S&P 500 is now just 5 points below its prior all-time highs reached at the end of December. As shown below, the index and six of ten sectors are now in overbought territory, with Consumer Discretionary leading the way higher. The one sector that has not participated in the fun recently is Utilities. In fact, the sector is now trading in oversold territory as the rest of the market rallies.
You can see the sideways pattern the S&P 500 has been in over the last few months in the chart below. Even more recently the S&P had been in an even tighter sideways range, but we managed to break convincingly above that today. Should we manage to take out the December highs in the coming days, you’ll hear a lot of bulls cheering on another big leg higher.
Earlier today we noted the weak relative strength of the Utilities sector. Below we provide one-year relative strength charts (vs. the S&P 500) for all ten S&P 500 sectors. In the charts below, rising lines mean the sector is outperforming the S&P 500, and vice versa for declining lines. Levels above 0 mean the sector was outperforming the S&P 500 over the last year at that point in time, and vice versa for levels below 0. Dots represent FOMC days.
Relative strength for the Utilities sector has fallen apart since the last FOMC meeting, which coincided with the short-term low in interest rates as well. Taking its place on the positive side are sectors like Consumer Discretionary — which is now outperforming the S&P 500 over the last year — Materials, Financials, and Technology. Other sectors that have seen relative strength pull in a bit recently include Consumer Staples (another defensive) and Health Care.
Every week at Bespoke Premium, we publish our Sector Snapshot, which provides commentary along with multiple pages of sector charts of things like trading ranges, advance/decline lines, valuations, relative strength and long-term breadth. To check out this week’s Sector Snapshot, sign up for a 5-day free Bespoke Premium trial today.