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Charts of the Week

S&P 500 Index Sector Performance (As of 12/31/2017)

Chart of the Week for January 12, 2018 - January 18, 2018

Nine of the 11 S&P 500 Index sectors rose in the twelve months ended December 31, 2017 and the S&P 500 Index returned 21.83%.

Similar to the stock market as a whole, returns for individual sectors of the stock market experience fluctuations. For example, a sector may outperform other sectors for a period of time and then underperform in subsequent periods. The chart above compares the performance of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (“S&P 500”), including dividends, to its 11 underlying sectors for the twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017 ("current" period) and December 31, 2016 ("prior" period). The S&P 500 is an index consisting of 500 companies representing larger-capitalization stocks traded in the U.S. and is a benchmark commonly used to measure the performance of the U.S. stock market. The S&P 500 gained 21.83% in the current period with nine of the 11 sectors posting positive returns. For the prior period, 10 of the 11 sectors posted positive returns with the S&P 500 gaining 11.96%.

Information Technology led the sectors in the current period with a return of (38.83%), as large-cap stocks in that sector had strong returns during the year. Other sectors that outperformed the S&P 500 included Materials (23.84%), Consumer Discretionary (22.98%), Financials (22.18%), and Healthcare (22.08%). The only sectors that had negative returns in the current period were Energy (-1.01%) and Telecom Services (1.25%). Factors influencing the positive returns in the current period were a generally improving economy, low inflation, and the year-long discussions of U.S. policy changes in areas including taxation, regulatory reform, and healthcare.

Market and sector returns fluctuate from year to year depending upon a variety of factors, which are very difficult to forecast. Therefore, it is important to understand the principles of investing before establishing an investment strategy to be sure that it is consistent with your personal goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

© Copyright 2018 ICMA Retirement Corporation, All Rights Reserved. This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities or investment strategies discussed here. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

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