With the 1st half of 2022 now behind us, we devote this post to a mid-year review of ETFs in a variety of stock sectors. We also highlight some recent research on sectors that have historically held up well during periods of high inflation, and the benefit of time horizon when investing in stocks. We hope you find this mid-year review helpful!
Record-breaking 1st half of 2022
According to this MarketWatch article, the S&P 500 recorded its steepest 1st-half year loss in over 50 years. But, remember that the S&P 500 is a broad-based index consisting of many different companies across a variety of industries. In fact, there are 11 sectors in the S&P 500, which in order of size (and an ETF to represent them) are:
- Information Technology (XLK)
- Health Care (XLV)
- Financials (XLF)
- Consumer Discretionary (XLY)
- Communication Services (XTL)
- Industrials (XLI)
- Consumer Staples (XLP)
- Energy (XLE)
- Utilities (XLU)
- Real Estate (IYR)
- Materials (XLB)
Mid-year review of best and worst performing sector ETFs
The chart below sorts the total return for the 11 ETFs identified above for 2022. As can be seen here, the biggest gains were among the energy sector (XLE) and the worst in consumer discretionary (XLY). Over this same period, the S&P 500 total return, measured by the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (ticker: IVV) was -19.2%. Also, note that the energy sector was the only ETF here that saw a positive return, which is not surprising given the war in Ukraine and its impact on supply in the energy sector.
Where will stocks go from here and what to do about it?
Given the current high inflation rates, Derek Horstmeyer at George Mason University recently showed the following “inflation fighters” in his June 5th Wall Street Journal Article.
Of course, the most prudent course of action may be to simply do nothing based on this mid-year review. Given longer investment horizons, the stock market is less likely to suffer losses. Based on Bank of America research, the chart below supports this fact.
But, as this article notes, behavioral economists know that the pain of loss is greater than the pleasure of gains. So, the 2nd half of this year remains quite uncertain, as market volatility remains elevated.