The US stock market has surged almost 20% since the beginning of
the year and continues to lead global stocks (NYSEARCA:VT) higher.
With 2013 almost already half over, let's quickly examine four
industry sectors that are outperforming the
A quick snapshot shows that consumer staples (NYSEARCA:XLP) and
consumer discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY) are each ahead by over 20%
year-to-date (YTD) and edging out the S&P 500's 17.30% gain.
(See the table below for the full visual)
The mood of consumers is improving, according to the Conference
Board Consumer Confidence Index. For May, the index jumped to 76.2
from 69.0 in April, and it is now at a five-year peak.
Rising home prices have also boosted consumer sentiment.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price 20-City Composite Index
increased by 10.9% in the one-year period ending March 2013. The
national composite rose by 10.2% in the last four quarters, and all
20 major cities posted positive year-over-year growth.
XLP owns defensive stocks like
Procter & Gamble
). In contrast, XLY owns companies in the auto, hotel, restaurant,
and retailing sector like
Health care stocks (NYSEARCA:XLV) and financials (NYSEARCA:XLF) are
the two other sectors beating the S&P 500's YTD performance.
Within the health care sector, biotech stocks (IBB) have advanced
by a sizzling 33% YTD.
Has the stock market become overheated?
Although household credit remains tight, borrowing money to buy
stocks has jumped. For April 2013, NYSE margin debt topped $384.37
billion to beat a previous record of $381.37 billion in July 2007.
Margin interest rates are typically lower than credit cards and
unsecured personal loans. Also, there's no set repayment schedule
with a margin loan, and the principal can be repaid at the
borrower's convenience. However, a sharp correction in equity
prices can cause borrowers to quickly magnify their losses.
S&P 500 earnings growth in Q1 was 3.2%, according to Factset.
The energy (NYSEARCA:XLE) and materials (NYSEARCA:XLB) sectors were
the only two sectors to report earnings decreases.
For Q2 2013, earnings growth estimates have dropped from
expectations of 4.4% at the beginning of April to 1.4% today.
Editor's note: This story originally appeared on
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