Not a bad quarter for the bulls. With Q1 now officially in the books, 2017 has gotten off to a great start with the S&P 500 rallying 5.7% through late Friday afternoon. As shown in the sector performance chart below, Technology did most of the heavy lifting this quarter with a rally of 12.4%, or more than double the S&P 500’s gains. Behind Technology, Consumer Discretionary rallied 8.2%, while Health Care gained 8%. On the downside, the only two sectors that were down on the quarter were Energy (-7.2%) and Telecom Services (-4.8%). Besides these two sectors, others that underperformed during Q1 were Financials, Real Estate, Industrials, and Materials.
The tables below list the best and worst performing stocks during the quarter. Of the 21 stocks that gained more than 25%, shares of NRG Energy (NRG) rallied more than 50%, while Vertex Pharma gained 48%. With Technology leading the market higher, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that eight of the top performing stocks in the index were from that sector, led by Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Micron (MU) which both added more than 30%. How good a year has 2017 been for equities and Tech in general? Even Xerox (XRX) is up over 25%!
To the downside, the table below lists the 30 stocks in the S&P 500 that traded down more than 10% this quarter. Leading the way lower, L Brands (LB), Under Armour (UA), and Signet (SIG) all lost more than a quarter of their market value during Q1. Along with those three names, another six stocks from the Consumer Discretionary sector made the list. The only sector with more stocks on the list of losers was Energy. Given that it was the worst performing sector during the quarter, Energy makes sense, but Consumer Discretionary was the second best performing sector. The reason Consumer Discretionary fared so well even with so many stocks in the sector declining sharply is due in large part to Amazon.com (AMZN). With a gain of 18% and a market cap of around $425 billion, AMZN was responsible for one-third of the Consumer Discretionary sector’s gain in Q1.