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Defensive Stocks Continue to Outperform

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Caroline Purser | Getty Images

U.S. stocks fell for the fourth consecutive week, led to the downside by the NASDAQ Composite, posting a loss of 18 percent in the past four weeks.

The S&P 500 and Dow are down 16.5 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively, over the same period. The current drop accounts for the worst four-week percent decline for all three major indices since March 6, 2009 --right before the stock market rallied after reaching multi-year lows.

It's important to note that small and mid-capitalization stocks have been hit the hardest in the past four weeks, as investors get rid of riskier assets.


Among the major S&P 500 sectors, defensive names like utilities and consumer staples stocks continue to outperform the rest of the group.

U.S. stocks fell for the fourth consecutive week, led to the downside by the NASDAQ Composite, posting a loss of 18 percent in the past four weeks.

The S&P 500 and Dow are down 16.5 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively, over the same period. The current drop accounts for the worst four-week percent decline for all three major indices since March 6, 2009 --right before the stock market rallied after reaching multi-year lows.

It's important to note that small and mid-capitalization stocks have been hit the hardest in the past four weeks, as investors get rid of riskier assets.


The table below highlights the companies that are down the least within utilities and consumer staples in the past four weeks, along with their performance the week of August 18. Most of these stocks have dividend yields higher than 4 percent.

Worst Performing Stocks

On the contratry, the S&P Industrial, Financial and Energy sectors have seen losses greater than 20 percent in the last four weeks. The table below contains the worst performing stocks in each of these sectors.



Source CNBC Analytics, Capital IQ and Thomson Reuters

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