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Market Sectors - Organizing The Stock Market

Are you a clean freak? Does it drive you crazy when things are out of place or when a picture isn’t quite level? If you are at your friend’s house, do you wipe dust from a shelf or line up the towels when no one is looking? If so, you will like today’s topic; but don’t worry, we won’t lecture you on your obsessive compulsive side! The topic is market sectors and understanding and using them will not only tidy up your stock portfolio but will also help you to strengthen your trading plan as well.

A Definition of Market Sectors
They say a problem well defined is nearly solved; this can be applied to stocks as well. An investor needs a way to sort stocks; the basis of stock technical analysis relies on this comparison. If you can find common ground between two stocks, you can find a measurement of comparison. The best form of association is market sectors. “Market sectors” is a qualification method which looks at the type of business and groups them based on generally accepted names. One of the most common classifications breaks the market down into 11 different market sectors. Two are generally regarded as “defensive” and the other nine are referred to as “cyclical”. These market sectors are:

Cyclical Stocks
Transportation     
Technology     
Health Care
Financial
Energy
Consumer Cyclical
Communication
Capital Goods
Basic Materials

Defensive Stocks
Utilities
Consumer Staples

Defensive Stocks
Defensive investing with defensive stocks are beneficial to a portfolio because companies in these market sectors typically don’t experience as much stock volatility when the market has problems because people still use energy and eat. These are good stabilizers to use for portfolio diversification and offer protection in a falling market.

The downside of defensive stocks is that they don’t climb with a rising market. Although the market is doing well people necessarily use more energy or eat more food. Defensive market sectors follow the image that their name implies; they can be used quite well as hedge funds, stable stocks that prevent too much volatility in a portfolio.

Cyclical Stocks
Cyclical stocks cover the remaining market sectors and they typically react to a variety of market conditions. They do move independently, however, as one may be going up while another is going down. Because of this, purchasing from the cyclical market sectors requires good stock market strategies.

Why do we care about market sectors?
There are two important concepts with market sectors. First, by understanding the different market sectors, it is possible to find relationships between different companies. If you don’t know that one company is in the health care sector and another is in the energy sector, you might compare their earnings per share and draw conclusions that don’t apply. Second, understanding market sectors allows you to add valuable protection to your stock portfolio. By investing in a number of different market sectors, you can build a higher level of security for your investment. For example, if you invested $11,000 only in the communications sector and it dropped by 50% you will have lost $5,500 or 50% of your investment. If you invested equally in all eleven market sectors and the communications sector dropped by 50%, you will have only lost $500 or 4.5% of your investment. While the example is simplistic, the meaning is very clear; by spreading your investments over a number of market sectors you minimize your risks of a tumble by an entire sector.

Conclusion
Feel like doing a little “spring cleaning” on your portfolio now? By putting the stock market in the right baskets, you can know how to both evaluate a stock and insulate your portfolio from extreme risk. Most analysis matrixes start by comparing businesses from the same sector; as you use your stock trading plan to evaluate companies in similar market sectors, you will improve your decision making process. Then you can start trying to understand other important things like why those uneven towels bother you so much!





 

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