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Winners and losers in the quiet market

Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange.
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Appearances can be deceiving. If investors looked just at the broad stock market's slow grind for much of this summer, they would have missed opportunities in some recently shunned sectors.

The ended August with its longest streak of sub-1 percent moves in more than two years — 38 days going back to July 11. While the narrow trading range raised concerns about market complacency, a quarter of the stocks in the index actually gained or lost at least 10 percent during that time.

"This has been such a 'risk-on' 'risk off' [market] for the last five, six, seven years that it has frustrated active managers," said Ben Pace, CIO of HPM Partners. "Maybe we're in a position now where there's separation, the stronger from the weaker."