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2017 Charts of the Week

S&P 500 Index Sector Performance (As of 3/31/2017)

Chart of the Week for April 13, 2017 - April 20, 2017

All 11 of the S&P 500 Index sectors rose in the twelve months ended March 31, 2017 and the S&P 500 Index returned 17.17%.

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 March 31, 2017 ("current" period) and March 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 17.17% in the current period with all 11 sectors posting positive returns. For the prior period, seven of the 11 sectors posted positive returns with the S&P 500 gaining 1.78%.

The generally improving U.S. economy impacted all of the sectors in the current period. Financials had the highest return in the current period with a return of (32.60%), primarily as a result of the U.S. presidential election, policy proposals concerning less regulations and taxes, and higher interest rates. Other sectors that outperformed the S&P 500 included Information Technology (24.91%), Materials (19.22%), and Industrials (18.38%). Energy had the second biggest improvement year-over-year behind Financials, as rising energy prices helped issuers in that sector.

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 2017 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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