Stock Market Sectors Guide: How These 11 Slices Of The Market Work

Within each sector, there are a number of different publicly traded companies that share the same broad focus. The European, Asian, and Canadian stock markets have the same sectors as the U.S. stock market. This similarity gives investors the opportunity to compare stock market sectors across countries. Understanding the different stock market sectors can help traders and investors both spread their risks and make better-informed decisions. Read on for insight into how to get exposure to particular sectors and the factors that move them. If you are interested in a certain sector but are not ready to invest in a specific company within that sector, you can still participate in sector investing!

11 sectors of the stock market

Our Luxury Lifestyle share basket​ offers investors and traders exposure to companies specialising in Consumer Discretionary products. Alternatively, there are ETFs dedicated to the sector, such as the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund​. Unlike Consumer Staples, the Consumer Discretionary sector experiences greater demand during periods of economic growth, when consumers have more disposable income. GDP and consumer confidence are two key indicators of consumers’ willingness to spend money on non-essential items, as opposed to saving. The Consumer Discretionary sector is distinguished from Consumer Staples by the greater impact that consumers’ financial status has on demand.

Despite dips in the stock market over the past three years, health care sector gains outpaced those of the S&P 500. Second, market sectors can be affected differently by market volatility and where the economy is in the business cycle. Financials and real estate, for example, may do better in the early stages trading with ic markets of the business cycle versus the later stages. It’s worth taking an in-depth look at stock market sectors to help guide your investment strategy. We’ll explore each stock market sector, walk through a few of the largest and well-known companies within each sector as well as various industry groups.

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Example of companies in this sector includes big names like Microsoft Corporation, Oracle Corp., and Mastercard Inc. This sector has seen a lot of change in recent years because of the rapid rise in technology-based companies. Under the same thinking of diversifying risk by owning multiple companies within the sector, you can also select a sector-themed mutual fund. These are professionally managed both passively and actively, depending on the theme. Mutual funds allow you to own many positions in the sector so that a single stock disaster won’t hurt as much with the risk spread out.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the 11 sectors of the stock market and various ETFs that can be used to gain exposure to them. Some of the largest companies in the consumer staples sector are Procter & Gamble, Walmart, and Coca-Cola. “For practically any investor, I would advise the total US stock market fund as the only U.S. stock investment you need,” Campos said. Granted, past performance doesn’t predict future results … but remember, the trend is your friend. If the trend is down, you probably don’t want to be buying and hoping it turns around. To help you understand why tracking different stock sectors performance is important, let me give you an example.

11 sectors of the stock market

A large portion of this sector is made up of real estate investment trusts , but it also includes other real estate leasing, management, and development companies. Opposite of consumer discretionary products, the consumer staples category is made up of those products that people view as needs and that sell no matter how the economy is doing. Included in the consumer staples sector are food, beverages, tobacco, household products, and personal care products. The U.S. stock market includes thousands of companies, and it’s easy to get analysis paralysis at the thought of choosing which to invest in.

So just because a market sector has done well up to now doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will deliver the same or a higher level of returns in the future. These 10 simple stocks can help beginning investors build long-term wealth without knowing options, technicals, or other advanced strategies. The telecom sector consists of wireless providers, cable companies, internet service providers and satellite companies, among others.

Option 3: Buy sector ETFs.

In addition, most real estate investment trusts, which are special tax-favored business entities that operate in various areas of the real estate industry, get counted as within the real estate sector. The technology sector includes multiple sub-sectors and industries, from semi-conductor producers to software and hardware providers, as well as internet stocks and cloud computing. Here are the 11 stock market sectors, starting with the highest-growth stock sector from 2017 to 2022 and descending in order. If you’re trying to decide which sectors to invest in based on returns, then you might use sectors that outperformed the S&P as a baseline.

Real Estate has historically been considered one of the safest investments. House prices have tended to rise consistently over long periods of time. Periods of recession, like the 2008 financial crisis, tend to lower house prices, but their effects tend to be short-lived and house prices then continue to trend upwards. For example, US house prices had recovered to pre-crisis levels by 2013. While individual Communication Services stocks can be volatile, the sector as a whole has experienced sustained growth and its stocks occasionally exhibit both growth and value traits.

The financial sector comprises firms and institutions that provide financial products and services to individuals and businesses. There are three industry groups within the sector, including banks, diversified financials and insurance. The stock market is often divided into 11 major sectors representing key areas of the economy.

Generally, that includes brokerage firms along with companies involved in banking, money markets, mortgages, investing, and insurance. Stocks in the financial sector may perform well when rates on loans rise. Between late 2020 and late 2021, this was one of the highest-performing sectors in the S&P 500 index. This sector includes companies that take raw materials or natural resources and turn them into something more usable. Companies that produce chemicals, construction materials, packaging, glass, paper, metals, and more are involved in this sector.

Currently, the more well-known ones include Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis, with market caps of $23 billion and $12 billion, respectively. The S&P sectors constitute a method of sorting publicly traded companies into 11 sectors and 24 industry groups. Created by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Morgan Stanely Capital International , they are also known as the Global Industry Classification Standard . S&P sorts companies into sectors based on their primary business activity.

Previously, real estate investments had been grouped in with the financials sector on the S&P 500. For example, the information technology sector tends to be weak during periods of high inflation, but the health care sector tends to fare well when technology stocks tumble. The consumer discretionary sector consists of retailers, media companies, consumer service providers, apparel companies and consumer durables. In general, these companies benefit from an improving economy when consumer spending accelerates.

11 sectors of the stock market

The utilities sector consists of electric, gas and water companies as well as integrated providers. In general, the sector generates consistent recurring income by charging consumers and businesses that provide higher-than-average dividend yields. The real estate sector is made up of companies involved in the development and management of real estate.

If you plan to put your hard-earned money into a stock, you’d better know how its sector has performed. Coming in blind without any knowledge of the way it operates in can be a recipe for disaster. A sector breakdown is a term used to explain how a portfolio or fund is diversified into different sectors. It can give investors an idea of what percentage of the fund is allocated to each sector to help them decide where to invest.

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The consumer staples sector comprises companies that provide essential products and services that people need in their daily lives. Tough economic climates are ideal times to learn more about consumer staples. The industrials sector makes up companies that manufacture and distribute capital goods, supplies, equipment and products that enable other companies to operate their businesses. This sector includes transportation, capital goods and commercial and professional services.

There’s more than one way to add specific sector exposure to your portfolio. For example, you could pick a sector and buy individual stocks that represent strategies to use in forex day trading one or all of the industries it covers. Or you could invest in a sector mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, such as a utility fund or a tech fund.

  • While an investment advisor can provide a more in-depth look at the characteristics of various market sectors, this guide provides a primer on the stock market’s sectors.
  • The content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a comprehensive description of Titan’s investment advisory services.
  • So it’s a big deal when the GICS classification changes or a company is added to or removed from the schema.
  • ETFs are less volatile, which can make them great for beginner traders who can be scared off by rapid price movements.

The consumer staples sector includes goods and services that consumers need, regardless of their current financial condition. The category includes companies in the food, beverage, and tobacco industries, as well as household and personal care products. You’ll also find retail companies that specialize in selling staples, such as supermarkets, in this group.

Basic Materials

I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. Some of the largest industrial companies in the world include Boeing , Honeywell , and Union Pacific . From equities, fixed income to derivatives, the CMSA certification bridges the gap from where you are now to where you want to be — a world-class capital markets analyst.

Some of the largest companies in the financials sector are Berkshire Hathaway, Visa, and JPMorgan Chase. I became a self-made millionaire by the age of 21, trading thousands of Penny Stocks – yep you read that right, penny stocks. The energy sector has been underperforming the S&P 500 Index since the beginning of 2020.

The 11 Official Stock Market Sectors

Alternatively, Our Big Tech share basket​ offers exposure to many of the biggest names in the IT sector, including Microsoft, Facebook and Apple. Similarly, the SaaS share basket​ provides exposure to companies involved in cloud computing and related technologies, including Zoom, HubSpot and Salesforce. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

So your list would include consumer discretionary, healthcare and information technology. Based on the numbers, it’s immediately clear that information technology is the largest market sector based on market capitalization. This sector covers six industries, including software, technology, hardware, semiconductors and IT services. Its market capitalization is more than double that of the industrials sector, which has more than twice as many underlying industries. GICS is an industry classification system developed by Standard & Poor’s in collaboration with Morgan Stanley Capital International . S&P uses GICS to determine the market segment to which a company is assigned.

In 1999, index giants S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI created what’s called the Global Industry Classification System , which separated companies and industries into sectors. For instance, during the 2010s, GICS discarded the telecommunications bdswiss overview sector and created the real estate and communication services sectors. It’s worth noting that real estate is the newest sector to be added to the list. It wasn’t until 2016 that real estate was officially recognized as its own market sector.


Growth in this sector lagged in the three years leading up to mid-2022, compared to the S&P 500 index. With thousands of companies in the U.S. stock market, investors need a system to make sense of it all. To help sort things, companies in the stock market are broken into 11 sectors.

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