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Deep Dive: Utility stocks have beaten the S&P 500 in two months of turbulence and in the long run

The S&P 500 utilities sector has been the best performer during the market decline that began in October. Don’t roll your eyes.

We know it may not be a surprise, as utility companies offer investors a haven in times of turbulence. But what may interest you is how much better this stodgy sector’s performance has been over long periods.

From the end of September, the S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.33% has declined 8%, including reinvested dividends, while the S&P 500 utilities sector returned a positive 3.3%. Here’s a chart showing how well the 12 sectors of the S&P 500 Index have fared over various periods:

Total returns
S&P 500 sector Sept.

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