Four years into the bull market, below is a look back at which sectors have led the market higher at different points during the run.
Consumer discretionary has been the standout sector for the full bull. An investor who bought $XLY at the ’09 low has nearly quadrupled her money compared to a 2.5x gain for the S&P, and she’s done that with relatively few bumps along the way. Healthcare and staples have been leaders in recent months, but it’s easy to forget now that for the first couple years of the bull market, those two sectors were laggards.
Financials tell the story of the bull better than perhaps any other sector. They were very strong out performers at the beginning of the bull market as the market realized that the world wasn’t coming to an end, but then gave back almost all of that out performance between 2010 and 2011 as a lingering crisis environment continued to weigh on investor psychology. It wasn’t until late 2011 that the sector really started to lead again as investors seemingly became more comfortable with the idea that the economy had stabilized.
Note that the chart below is stylized for simplicity. For more complete raw data of day to day sector out performance, you can check out the chart here.