The S&P 500 is right at all-time highs, but if you look at your portfolio or a random list of stocks, with some of the winners there are bound to be some clunkers. Before getting too restless, though, it’s important to keep in mind that not all stocks rally or decline in unison with each other. The chart below perfectly illustrates this. In it, we show the average distance that stocks in the S&P 1500 are trading with respect to their 52-week highs. For the S&P 1500 as a whole, stocks in the index are collectively trading an average of 16.2% from their respective 52-week highs. Large-cap stocks in the S&P 500 are the closest to 52-week highs at just a hair above 10%. Mid Caps are down an average of 14.8% while small caps have been the big laggard with stocks in the S&P 600 down an average of 22.2% from their 52-week highs.
Small-cap stocks have been a laggard for the last year, and one of the key drivers of that weakness has been the Energy sector. The chart below shows how far stocks in the S&P 1500 are trading relative to their 52-week highs broken out by sector. It’s not often that you see one sector as such a big outlier relative to all the others, but the Energy sector is in a league of its own these days. Stocks in the sector are more depressed than any other, trading down an average of 42.8% from their 52-week highs. Behind Energy, the next closest sector is Communication Services at an average of 22.7%. That’s a spread of more than 20 percentage points between the two sectors with stocks furthest below their 52-week highs!
While stocks in the Energy and Communication Services sectors are the furthest below their 52-week highs, sectors that are the closest include Utilities and Financials where the average stock in each sector is down less than 10% from their 52-week highs. Sign up for Bespoke’s “2020” special and get our upcoming Bespoke Report 2020 Market Outlook and Investor Toolkit.