As uncertainty in the U.S. markets prevails with mounting concerns over rising inflation, a weakening dollar, oil at record levels, and distress over the ongoing credit crunch, stock investors might want to take a look at the 2nd quarter performance of the winning sectors for companies that have weathered the market turmoil. Within the S&P 500 Index, four out of the ten major sectors finished in positive territory. The Energy sector led the way with a percentage gain of 16.92% in the past three months, followed by the Utilities sector with a gain of 7.10% during the same period.
The top ten percentage gainers within the Energy sector posted gains of over 40% in the past three months. As fears over the role of speculators in the futures market intensify, along with supply concerns and increasing geopolitical tensions, crude oil prices jumped by 37.92% during the second quarter of 2008, and now are up by 50.79% year-to-date. During yesterday’s trading session, August crude oil future contracts at the NYMEX hit a fresh intraday record high of $143.67 per barrel.
The following chart depicts the top ten percentage gainers in the Energy sector during the second quarter:
Within the Energy sector there were only three companies that ended in negative territory. The Oil & Gas Refining group within the S&P Energy sector was down 19.23% during the second quarter as the jump in crude oil prices added pressure to profit margins.
The following are the top ten percentage winners and losers within the S&P 500 Index:
**Massey Energy , a coal producer, was the top performer in the first-half of 2008, boosted by the 70% gain in coal.
No big surprise, the S&P 500 losers were dominated by financial companies.
**As of June 30, 2008