Not much has changed at the top of our sector rankings in recent months, with Financials, Energy, and Info Tech in the top three positions. But, we have seen a very rapid decline with two sectors, Consumer Discretionary and Industrials. Over the past several months, these cyclical sectors have sunk to the bottom of our ratings. Here we take a look at what has caused this dramatic drop.
After nearly six years, the Industrials sector has reclaimed a top three spot among the GS Score’s Broad Sector Composite rankings—six of the sector’s 18 groups rank Attractive and two are in High Neutral. Construction & Engineering, an Industrials sector group, offers diversity in several ways—from the nature of its underlying businesses, and through areas of strength supporting the GS Score factor categories.
But Information Technology rises to the top of the Domestic model, while the trend of Financials domination in the Global model remains intact.
Our Domestic Scores have five Financials groups rating Attractive; these same five industry groups are Attractive in our Global model. In total, seven Financials groups rank Attractive in the Global model, with insurance groups looking particularly Attractive.
With the notable exception of the Consumer Discretionary sector, cyclical stocks topped out globally on a relative basis in early 2011 (Chart 3). Throughout the last two and one half years, there have been repeated calls for industrial cyclicals—which were, of course, the leaders of the last cyclical bull market—to reassume stock market leadership.
DOMESTIC GS SCORES: Among the sector rankings, Consumer Discretionary leapt from fourth to first this month. Information Technology climbed to second from third, while Consumer Staples was bumped from first to third place.
GLOBAL GS SCORES: Financials’ domination of the Attractive groups continues, and no groups rate Unattractive. Consumer Staples, Energy, and Health Care have no Attractive groups.
The High-Tech Thirty index was introduced last month and fostered considerable interest. We have done additional work, providing more back history, and drawn a new chart. “Let’s Get Competitive” was introduced in a special feature last month however, because of timing considerations, we have not yet started building a major portfolio holding in this area. But maybe we should stop trying to get so cute and get on with it.
Capital spending to improve manufacturing and industrial productivity may be much higher than anticipated over the next three years. Management confidence is growing, and attitudes are changing: “Yes, we can compete with our overseas rivals.” Here are the stocks and industries that should be the major beneficiaries of this projected development.