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Deep Dive: 11 improving health-care companies whose stocks are loved by analysts

Stock-market sectors can go from best to worst in the span of two years. Or from worst to best.

Such moves can set up money-making opportunities if you sense investor or analyst sentiment improving or worsening. They can also underscore how important it is to stick with sound long-term strategies.

Here are total return figures for 10 sectors of the S&P 500 SPX, -0.31% We’re leaving out the newly installed real estate sector, which was carved out of the financial sector in September by S&P Dow Jones Indices:

Sector Total return – 2016 through Oct. 25 Total return – 2015 Total return – 3 years Total return – 5 years Total return – 10 years
Consumer Discretionary 3% 10% 31% 121% 153%
Consumer Staples 7% 7% 36% 95% 169%
Energy 17% -21% -11% 15% 47%
Financials 3% -2% 23% 106% -15%
Health Care -2% 7% 38% 131% 150%
Industrials 8% -3% 25% 97% 98%
Information Technology 14% 6% 57% 112% 162%
Materials 9% -8% 12% 57% 79%
Telecommunications 9% 3% 15% 65% 71%
Utilities 15% -5% 38% 72% 99%
S&P 500 7% 1% 30% 94% 92%
Source: FactSt

You can see that three sectors known for stocks with attractive dividends and relatively low price volatility — consumer staples, telecommunications and utilities — have fared well this year, as investors have chased higher yields as interest rates have sunk ever lower.

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