Best Performing Stocks of 2015
The S&P 500 Stocks Index registered a small decline in 2015, snapping a three-year winning streak that saw the benchmark gauge add more than 60%. Six of the ten sectors listed on the S&P 500 Index reported declines in 2015, led by a nearly 25% plunge in energy shares. Clearly, returns were hard to come by this past year, as a weak global economy, declining commodity prices and a strong US dollar weighed on investor sentiment.
Now that 2015 has drawn to a close, many investors are using the power of hindsight to reflect on the trades they should have made over the past 12 months. Below we break down some key sectors and stocks that would have made traders a lot more money last year. Let this list remind you of how difficult it can be to correctly predict price action in the financial markets.
We mentioned at the outset that the majority of the sectors on the S&P 500 reported losses last year. Among the gainers (there were only four of them), the consumer discretionary sector was by far the best performer. Consumer discretionary businesses, which include retailers, media firms and consumer durables and apparel companies, closed the year with a gain of 8%.
Healthcare, information technology and consumer staples also reported gains of more than 2.5% for the year.
The relatively strong performance of healthcare and technology stocks when compared with the broader market also lifted the Nasdaq Composite Index to a yearly gain of 5.7%. This also bodes well for the biotechnology sector, which is a key component of the technology-heavy NASDAQ. In fact, the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF enjoyed a yearly return of 12.3%, making it one of the market’s best-performing categories.
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