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Yes, Virginia, These Large Caps Do Best in Q4
Advisors who make seasonal or tactical adjustments to client portfolios may find it useful to know which sectors are naughty and which are nice as the famed Santa Claus rally approaches.

Here’s how each of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 performed, on average, since 1990. The numbers are courtesy of Sam Stovall, U.S. equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.

In case you are wondering why the data only go back to the final decade of the 20th century, it is because the system for categorizing sectors is fairly recent. The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) was developed jointly by MSCI and S&P to categorize stocks in 10 sectors divided into industry groups, industries, and sub-industries.

Developed in 1999, the GICS categories were backtested to 1990, which is why we have performance data by sector from then. Why not earlier? When you think about it, today’s economy looks very little like the business and financial landscape of the middle of the last century. Fifty years ago, the U.S. telecom services industry was dominated by a monopoly, the steel industry was a major part of the economy, and current technology giants including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle didn’t exist.

Here’s how each sector performed in the fourth quarter. —Joseph Lisanti


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