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Markets in a Minute

All S&P 500 Sectors and Industries, by Size

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S&P 500 Sectors and Industries

S&P 500 Sectors and Industries

All of the S&P 500 Sectors and Industries, by Size

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The S&P 500 is one of the most widely quoted stock market indexes, but do you know how it’s comprised? From soft drinks to semiconductors, the benchmark index tracks an extremely wide variety of industries across the U.S. economy.

In this Markets in a Minute chart from New York Life Investments, we show every sector and its underlying industries by size.

A Sector View

At a high level, the S&P 500 tracks broad segments of the economy known as sectors. Here’s how the percentage allocation in the index breaks down:

SectorPercent of S&P 500 Index
Information Technology27.48%
Health Care14.58%
Consumer Discretionary11.18%
Communication Services10.90%
Financials9.89%
Industrials7.90%
Consumer Staples7.05%
Utilities3.13%
Real Estate2.80%
Materials2.56%
Energy2.53%

Data as of July 31, 2020.

Information technology, which makes up almost 28% of the index, has outperformed other sectors by a wide margin so far in 2020. At the other end of the spectrum, real estate, materials, and energy each make up less than 3% of the index.

Diving Deeper: An Industry View

While investors are likely familiar with sectors, the specific underlying industries may be lesser known. Below is a complete industry breakdown of the S&P 500.

Click “Next” to view industry breakdowns of each sector

SectorIndustry% of Sector
Communication Services
Advertising0.63%
Alternative Carriers0.32%
Broadcasting1.23%
Cable & Satellite9.86%
Integrated Telecommunication Services15.22%
Interactive Home Entertainment4.18%
Interactive Media & Services51.52%
Movies & Entertainment14.69%
Publishing & Printing0.22%
Communication Services (cont'd)Wireless Telecommunication Services2.12%
Consumer Discretionary
Apparel Retail3.39%
Apparel, Accessories & Luxury Goods1.27%
Auto Parts & Equipment0.94%
Automobile Manufacturers1.89%
Automotive Retail2.97%
Casinos & Gaming0.98%
Computer & Electronics Retail0.75%
Consumer Electronics0.47%
Consumer Discretionary (cont'd)Department Stores0.10%
Distributors0.71%
Footwear4.00%
General Merchandise Stores4.40%
Home Furnishings0.33%
Home Improvement Retail13.16%
Homebuilding2.19%
Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines2.05%
Household Appliances0.34%
Housewares & Specialties0.21%
Consumer Discretionary (cont'd)Internet & Direct Marketing Retail47.65%
Leisure Products0.31%
Restaurants10.44%
Specialized Consumer Services0.09%
Specialty Stores1.36%
Consumer Staples
Agricultural Products1.25%
Brewers0.37%
Distillers & Vintners2.23%
Drug Retail1.57%
Consumer Staples (cont'd)Food Distributors1.41%
Food Retail1.43%
Household Products26%
HyperMarkets & Super Centers17.15%
Packaged Foods & Meats14.79%
Personal Products2.39%
Soft Drinks21.13%
Tobacco10.28%
Energy
Integrated Oil & Gas50.88%
Energy (cont'd)Oil & Gas Equipment & Services8.13%
Oil & Gas Exploration & Production20.30%
Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing11.51%
Oil & Gas Storage & Transportation9.18%
Financials
Asset Management & Custody Banks8.08%
Consumer Finance4.40%
Diversified Banks27.43%
Financial Exchanges & Data11.91%
Insurance Brokers5.77%
Financials (cont'd)Investment Banking & Brokerage6.63%
Life & Health Insurance4.08%
Multi-line Insurance1.84%
Multi-Sector Holdings14.23%
Property & Casualty Insurance7.41%
Regional Banks7.91%
Reinsurance0.33%
Health Care
Biotechnology15.66%
Health Care Distributors1.65%
Health Care (cont'd)Health Care Equipment25.73%
Health Care Facilities1.06%
Health Care Services4.80%
Health Care Supplies1.64%
Health Care Technology0.54%
Life Sciences Tools & Services8.56%
Managed Health Care11.30%
Pharmaceuticals29.08%
Industrials
Aerospace & Defense20.41%
Industrials (cont'd)Agricultural & Farm Machinery2.58%
Air Freight & Logistics7.85%
Airlines2.27%
Building Products5.57%
Construction & Engineering0.78%
Construction Machinery & Heavy Trucks6.61%
Diversified Support Services2.09%
Electrical Components & Equipment5.66%
Environmental & Facilities Services3.20%
Human Resource & Employment Services0.27%
Industrials (cont'd)Industrial Conglomerates13.56%
Industrial Machinery10.12%
Railroads11.13%
Research & Consulting Services4.11%
Trading Companies & Distributors2.48%
Trucking1.32%
Information Technology
Application Software8.79%
Communications Equipment3.42%
Data Processing & Outsourced Services15.67%
Information Technology (cont'd)Electronic Components0.74%
Electronic Equipment & Instruments0.53%
Electronic Manufacturing Services0.48%
Internet Services & Infrastructure0.54%
IT Consulting & Other Services4.27%
Semiconductor Equipment1.95%
Semiconductors15.10%
Systems Software24.00%
Technology Distributors0.22%
Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals24.29%
Materials
Commodity Chemicals6.71%
Construction Materials4.11%
Copper2.71%
Diversified Chemicals1.46%
Fertilizers & Agricultural Chemicals6.71%
Gold8.02%
Industrial Gases27.73%
Metal & Glass Containers3.47%
Paper Packaging8.80%
Materials (cont'd)Specialty Chemicals28.45%
Steel1.82%
Real Estate
Health Care REITs6.78%
Hotel & Resort REITs1.00%
Industrial REITs12.24%
Office REITs5.85%
Real Estate Services1.94%
Residential REITs11.20%
Retail REITs7.51%
Real Estate (cont'd)Specialized REITs53.48%
Utilities
Electric Utilities62.41%
Gas Utilities1.53%
Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders1.20%
Water Utilities3.15%
Multi-Utilities31.71%

Data as of July 31, 2020.

In total, the S&P 500 tracks 126 industries, and each one presents unique risks and opportunities.

Biotechnology, which focuses on novel drug development and clinical research for treating diseases, has gained renewed interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. While successful drugs can offer high potential returns, about 90% of clinical programs ultimately fail. Investors can screen potential companies for various factors including corporate sponsor support, ample long-term funds, and a pipeline with more than one product.

Another example is aerospace and defense. Due to the high barriers to entry and significant funding from the U.S. government, this can be an attractive industry for investors. However, it can be impacted by the current government’s defense policies. For example, the aerospace and defense industry performed well after President Donald Trump was elected, and it may be influenced by the November 2020 election results.

The Big Picture

With a full view of the S&P 500 sectors and industries, investors can get a better idea of the opportunities within U.S. large cap stocks. However, it’s worth noting that it is not possible to invest directly in an index. Investors can put funds in these industries by purchasing stocks directly, or through managed products such as ETFs and mutual funds that track index performance.

By exploring every corner of the economy, investors can take advantage of growth potential in various areas—not just those trending in the news cycle.

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Markets in a Minute

Visualizing S&P Performance in 2020, By Sector

Who were the big winners of 2020? We rank the S&P performance of 11 sectors—and provide possible explanations on why the market had a strong year.

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s&p sector performance charts

Visualizing S&P Performance in 2020, By Sector

With 2020 finally over, many are breathing a sigh of relief.

Investors faced a tumultuous year. Still, the S&P 500 finished strong with a 16% gain, outpacing its decade-long average by 4%. Many sectors that provided the new essentials—like online products, communication software and home materials—outperformed the market. It was, of course, a challenging year for other sectors including energy.

This Markets in a Minute graphic from New York Life Investments ranks the 2020 performance of every sector in the S&P 500 using data from S&P Global.

S&P Performance By Sector

As the world coped with devastating losses and uncertainty, how resilient were S&P 500 sectors?

Here’s how every sector performed, from top to bottom.

S&P 500 Sector2020 Price Return2019 Price Return10-Year Annualized ReturnsP/E (Trailing)*
Information Technology42.2%48.0%18.9%31.6
Consumer Discretionary32.1%26.2%16.0%48.1
Communication Services22.2%30.9%5.6%27.5
Materials18.1%21.9%6.6%40.4
Health Care11.4%18.7%13.8%25.3
Industrials9.0%26.8%9.6%28.9
Consumer Staples7.6%24.0%8.7%25.1
Utilities-2.8%22.2%7.2%21.1
Financials-4.1%29.2%8.6%15.3
Real Estate-5.2%24.9%6.6%36.3
Energy-37.3%7.6%-5.6%N/A
S&P 50016.3%28.9%11.6%31.2

*Trailing P/E measures market value divided by the last 12 months of earnings

As no surprise, technology came out on top with over 42% returns for the year.

COVID-19’s economic impact benefited the sector as activities, from work to socializing, moved online. In 2020, the tech sector’s returns were more than double its 18.9% average over the last decade.

Consumer discretionary was also one of 2020’s top sectors. Home to online marketplace giants along with electric vehicle companies, it posted a 32.1% return—surpassing its 2019 gains.

With -37.3% returns, energy was the hardest hit of all. Historic demand disruptions, along with OPEC tensions led to sector weakness. Like energy, real estate had a difficult year. Still, after declining 40% in March, by year-end, the sector mostly rebounded with just 5% losses.

Why The Market Had a Strong Year

Looking back, one of the biggest questions baffling investors is: why did the market perform so well? A number of factors, including government stimulus, low interest rates, and vaccine expectations can all help explain some of its behavior.

Government Stimulus

In March, the U.S. government approved a $2.2 trillion CARES-Act relief package, breaking historical records for stimulus. This helped create optimism in the market as individuals, small-businesses and corporations received financial relief.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve extended its “quantitative easing” policies that it introduced in 2008. Quantitative easing is when the central bank buys a number of longer-term securities. This type of measure is designed to boost economic activity through injecting liquidity into the market.

In 2020, the Federal Reserve began purchasing corporate bonds and other assets—on top of treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS)—for the first time ever. In fact, the Federal Reserve is now estimated to 34% of MBS in the U.S. to help protect American homeowners.

Low Interest Rates

Another force that may have contributed to S&P performance in 2020 was the Federal Reserve’s low-interest rate policy.

Low interest rates mean that borrowing costs are low, which can be favorable for business conditions. In September, the Federal Reserve announced a “lower for longer policy”, stating that it won’t raise rates until 2023.

Vaccine Expectations

The promise of a vaccine rollout has contributed to S&P 500 performance momentum, along with expectations that things could return to normal in 2021. It also corresponded with double-digit gains for the health care sector.

Though roadblocks and uncertainties remain, vaccine announcements in November also helped spur an uptick in the energy sector, which will be influenced by global vaccine efforts in the months ahead. This, in turn, will help travel resume to normal and spark oil & gas demand.

S&P Performance: What Comes Next in 2021

With the first year of the pandemic behind us, it’s hard to say how the story will continue.

As countries acquire vaccines, there is hope for S&P 500 performance, and future stimulus measures could prop up the stock market. Of course, both the containment of the virus and people feeling safe will have an outsized impact on S&P sectors in the shift to a post-pandemic world.

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Markets in a Minute

How Do Countries Around the World Compensate for Equity Risk?

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Equity Risk Premiums

How Do Countries Compensate Investors for Equity Risk?

When investors purchase stocks internationally, they are exposed to additional risks. Companies may have higher volatility based on a country’s economic, political, and legal conditions. In exchange for taking on the additional risk, investors demand a higher return potential, known as an equity risk premium.

Which countries have the highest premiums? In this Markets in a Minute from New York Life Investments, we explore equity risk premiums for countries around the world.

Behind the Numbers

The premiums are based on a study by a New York University researcher, Aswath Damodaran. All data is as of July 1, 2020.

Here are the steps Damodaran took to determine a country’s equity risk premium:

StepExample - Brazil
1. Find a country’s credit (bond) risk rating.Credit risk rating: Ba2
2. Based on that rating, determine the credit spread, which is the additional yield over a risk-free investment.Credit spread for Ba2 rating = 3.53%
3. To account for the additional risk stocks carry over bonds, multiply the credit spread by the relative equity market volatility.

This is the country risk premium.
3.53% credit spread x 1.25 relative equity market volatility

= 4.41% country risk premium
4. Add the country risk premium to the mature market risk premium (obtained by using the S&P 500 risk premium).4.41% country risk premium + 5.23% mature market risk premium
5. The resulting value is the country equity risk premium.9.64% country equity risk premium

Premiums will shift over time as a country’s credit rating, credit spread, and equity market volatility changes.

Equity Risk Premiums by Country

Below, we look at how equity risk premiums break down for 177 countries and regions, organized from highest to lowest.

CountryEquity Risk Premium
Sudan27.14%
Venezuela27.14%
Yemen, Republic27.14%
Algeria22.86%
Argentina22.86%
Guinea22.86%
Haiti22.86%
Korea, D.P.R.22.86%
Lebanon22.86%
Liberia22.86%
Somalia22.86%
Syria22.86%
Zambia22.86%
Zimbabwe22.86%
Ecuador19.92%
Congo (Republic of)18.46%
Cuba18.46%
Iran18.46%
Libya18.46%
Malawi18.46%
Mozambique18.46%
Sierra Leone18.46%
Barbados16.25%
Belize16.25%
Congo (Democratic Republic of)16.25%
Gabon16.25%
Guinea-Bissau16.25%
Iraq16.25%
Angola14.79%
Belarus14.79%
Bosnia and Herzegovina14.79%
El Salvador14.79%
Gambia14.79%
Ghana14.79%
Madagascar14.79%
Maldives14.79%
Mali14.79%
Moldova14.79%
Mongolia14.79%
Myanmar14.79%
Nicaragua14.79%
Niger14.79%
Pakistan14.79%
Solomon Islands14.79%
St. Vincent & the Grenadines14.79%
Suriname14.79%
Tajikistan14.79%
Togo14.79%
Ukraine14.79%
Bahrain13.32%
Benin13.32%
Burkina Faso13.32%
Cambodia13.32%
Cameroon13.32%
Cape Verde13.32%
Costa Rica13.32%
Egypt13.32%
Ethiopia13.32%
Guyana13.32%
Jamaica13.32%
Kenya13.32%
Kyrgyzstan13.32%
Nigeria13.32%
Papua New Guinea13.32%
Rwanda13.32%
Sri Lanka13.32%
Swaziland13.32%
Tunisia13.32%
Uganda13.32%
Albania11.84%
Bolivia11.84%
Cook Islands11.84%
Greece11.84%
Honduras11.84%
Jordan11.84%
Montenegro11.84%
Tanzania11.84%
Turkey11.84%
Uzbekistan11.84%
Armenia10.52%
Bangladesh10.52%
Côte d'Ivoire10.52%
Dominican Republic10.52%
Fiji10.52%
Macedonia10.52%
Oman10.52%
Senegal10.52%
Serbia10.52%
Vietnam10.52%
Azerbaijan9.64%
Bahamas9.64%
Brazil9.64%
Croatia9.64%
Cyprus9.64%
Georgia9.64%
Namibia9.64%
Guatemala8.90%
Morocco8.90%
Paraguay8.90%
South Africa8.90%
Trinidad and Tobago8.90%
Hungary8.46%
India8.46%
Italy8.46%
Kazakhstan8.46%
Montserrat8.46%
Portugal8.46%
Romania8.46%
Russia8.46%
St. Maarten8.46%
Andorra (Principality of)8.03%
Bulgaria8.03%
Colombia8.03%
Curacao8.03%
Indonesia8.03%
Philippines8.03%
Sharjah8.03%
Uruguay8.03%
Aruba7.58%
Mauritius7.58%
Mexico7.58%
Panama7.58%
Slovenia7.58%
Spain7.58%
Thailand7.58%
Turks and Caicos Islands7.58%
Laos6.99%
Latvia6.99%
Lithuania6.99%
Malaysia6.99%
Peru6.99%
Bermuda6.48%
Botswana6.48%
Brunei6.48%
Iceland6.48%
Ireland6.48%
Malta6.48%
Poland6.48%
Ras Al Khaimah (Emirate of)6.48%
Slovakia6.48%
Chile6.26%
China6.26%
Estonia6.26%
Israel6.26%
Japan6.26%
Saudi Arabia6.26%
Belgium6.12%
Cayman Islands6.12%
Czech Republic6.12%
Guernsey (States of)6.12%
Hong Kong6.12%
Jersey (States of)6.12%
Macao6.12%
Qatar6.12%
Taiwan6.12%
Abu Dhabi5.96%
France5.96%
Isle of Man5.96%
Korea5.96%
Kuwait5.96%
United Arab Emirates5.96%
United Kingdom5.96%
Austria5.81%
Finland5.81%
Australia5.23%
Canada5.23%
Denmark5.23%
Germany5.23%
Liechtenstein5.23%
Luxembourg5.23%
Netherlands5.23%
New Zealand5.23%
Norway5.23%
Singapore5.23%
Sweden5.23%
Switzerland5.23%
United States5.23%

Venezuela, Sudan, and Yemen are tied for the highest equity risk premium. While Venezuela battles hyperinflation, Yemen is suffering from a humanitarian crisis and Sudan has high perceived corruption.

In the mid-range, emerging countries such as Brazil, South Africa, and India carry moderate risk. However, they may also provide investors with higher returns than can be expected in mature markets.

On the low end of the scale, countries such as the United States, Singapore, and Germany have AAA credit ratings and the lowest premium of 5.23%.

Applying Risk Premiums to Companies

How can investors determine the equity risk premiums for individual companies?

One method is to assume that all companies incorporated in a country have equal exposure to that country’s risk. However, this is a simplified approach and does not account for the fact that a company’s operations may extend into other markets.

Alternatively, investors can calculate a weighted-average premium based on the location of a company’s revenue or production. For example, a consumer products business may weigh exposure based on the location of their revenue. An oil and gas company, where true risk lies in their reserves rather than where they sell, may instead be weighted by production.

Here’s a hypothetical example for an oil & gas company that has reserves in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela:

CountryProduction (in kboed)*% of TotalEquity Risk Premium
Total300100%14.41%
U.S.6020%5.23%
Saudi Arabia12040%6.26%
Venezuela12040%27.14%

* Kilobarrels of oil equivalent per day.

The weighted-average equity risk premium is 14.41%.

Importantly, even countries headquartered in mature markets have international risks if they carry out operations in other countries.

Risk Vs. Potential Reward

Every country presents varying degrees of risk based on local conditions. As investors look to diversify internationally, it’s critical to consider two factors:

  • The additional risk
  • The potential additional return

Equity risk premiums serve as a guide that can help investors compare country risk, and the additional return potential they should expect for tolerating that risk.

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