In 2012, Financials and consumer discretionary stocks were both up 20+ points annualized. This makes sense as the economy was in the early recovery phase (so cyclicals made gains) & financials had been bailed out.
In 2013, consumer discretionary stocks led the way again followed by healthcare, financials and industrials with utilities lagging. With modest but consistent job growth, cyclical sectors like consumer discretionary generally do perform well. Not sure why healthcare did so well but utilities lagged since it was a defensive sector.
This year Utilities, Healthcare and technology sector have been the best performers in the S&P 500. To me this is baffling. We have had strong job growth, rates are going to go up soon and QE is over but we have had 2 defensive sectors leading the way. I would have expected consumer discretionary stocks to be picking up pace with Industrials but instead they have under performed (2nd worst performance to Energy for discretionary and bottom half for Industrials)
I am not too old to know about previous recessions and recoveries but I was always under the perception that utilities sector lead the way right before a recession (seeking safety) but here in this case, we are going into strong job growth so shouldnt the more cyclical sectors be leading us as consumer spending starts picking up?