Weekly Sector Rankings Show a Defensive Market


Editor's Note: This article was originally published in John Murphy's Market Message on Friday, May 17th at 4:49pm ET.

The table in Chart 1 plots the relative performance of the eleven market sectors for the week. And they show a generally defensive market. That can be seen by the fact that REITs, utilities, and consumer staples are the three top sectors for the week. At the same time, the weakest sectors are financials, industrials, cyclicals, technology, and materials. Industrials were pulled lower by Deere and Caterpillar. Technology was held back by semiconductors with exposure to China. Materials were led lower by trade-sensitive copper and steel stocks. On a brighter side, communication stocks were led higher by fixed line telecommunication stocks like AT&T and Verizon (see below). A rebound in crude oil supported energy stocks. Drug stocks gave a boost to healthcare. Consumer discretionary stocks were pulled lower by automotive stocks; homebuilders, however, were the strongest cyclical group (as they've been all year). Asset managers and banks helped make financials the week's worst sector. And therein may lie another theme for the week. And that's the impact of falling bond yields.

Chart 1

John Murphy
About the author: is the Chief Technical Analyst at, a renowned author in the investment field and a former technical analyst for CNBC, and is considered the father of inter-market technical analysis. With over 40 years of market experience, he is the author of numerous popular works including “Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets” and “Trading with Intermarket Analysis”. Before joining StockCharts, John was the technical analyst for CNBC-TV for seven years on the popular show Tech Talk, and has authored three best-selling books on the subject: Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets, Trading with Intermarket Analysis and The Visual Investor. Learn More
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