Stock Market Winners And Losers In The First Quarter

March 2011 will be one of those months to remember for investors, and it went a long way toward overshadowing January and February, which together put the major stock-marketindices on course for a very good year.

It was, however, a happy ending — despite turmoil in the Middle Eastand the nuclear scare in Japan — with stocks rallying back after a 5-percent decline—what some consider the long-awaited correction.

CNBC Investor Spring Cleaning 2011
CNBC Investor Spring Cleaning 2011

Historical trends are one thing, but historical events are another, and March is a case in point.

In the past forty years, March has been the best month of the quarter, edging out January, 1.17 percent vs. 1.00 percent, based on the S&P 500. So, perhaps the strong finish is unsurprising. (April, by the way, is third best month behind November and December).

Before investors get their hopes up about April, they may want to take a close look at the first quarter, the best three-month performance in almost 15 years. Not one of the S&P's ten sectors registered a loss. The best performing was energy.

Here's the three best- and worst-performing stocks in each of the S&P's ten sectors during the first quarter.

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