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S&P 500 sector trading may point to stock market gains

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Stock market industry groups are starting to move in lockstep — a sign to some strategists that stocks will go higher.

"We've moved very broadly to these record highs, so when we look ahead that's the type of behavior we'd expect to see again," said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. His team's analysis found that less divergence — meaning, more similar, correlated performance — among the S&P 500 sectors historically results in gains for the broader market.

Divergence among the sectors is around the lowest in 10 years at 5.0 percent, according to Wren's study published Thursday. And since 1984, whenever the primary S&P 500 sectors traded in a standard deviation range of 2.4 percent to 9.6 percent, the S&P 500 on average gained 13.1 percent in the next 12 months, Wren found.