Thursday Sector Leaders: Healthcare, Utilities

Looking at the sectors faring best as of midday Thursday, shares of Healthcare companies are outperforming other sectors, up 0.7%. Within that group, Cigna Corp (Symbol: CI) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Symbol: ALXN) are two large stocks leading the way, showing a gain of 3.6% and 2.7%, respectively. Among healthcare ETFs, one ETF following the sector is the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (Symbol: XLV), which is up 0.8% on the day, and up 7.41% year-to-date. Cigna Corp , meanwhile, is down 12.49% year-to-date, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is up 8.64% year-to-date. Combined, CI and ALXN make up approximately 2.5% of the underlying holdings of XLV.

The next best performing sector is the Utilities sector, up 0.3%. Among large Utilities stocks, Sempra Energy (Symbol: SRE) and PPL Corp (Symbol: PPL) are the most notable, showing a gain of 1.0% and 1.0%, respectively. One ETF closely tracking Utilities stocks is the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU), which is up 0.4% in midday trading, and up 22.80% on a year-to-date basis. Sempra Energy, meanwhile, is up 31.77% year-to-date, and PPL Corp is up 15.63% year-to-date. Combined, SRE and PPL make up approximately 7.0% of the underlying holdings of XLU.

Comparing these stocks and ETFs on a trailing twelve month basis, below is a relative stock price performance chart, with each of the symbols shown in a different color as labeled in the legend at the bottom:

Here's a snapshot of how the S&P 500 components within the various sectors are faring in afternoon trading on Thursday. As you can see, four sectors are up on the day, while three sectors are down.

Sector % Change
Healthcare +0.7%
Utilities +0.3%
Materials +0.3%
Financial +0.2%
Technology & Communications 0.0%
Industrial -0.0%
Consumer Products -0.3%
Services -0.4%
Energy -0.4%

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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