The markets have fallen back into the red for the year. Many investors focus on the S&P 500 as their performance benchmark and that too has fallen into the negative. With only a few weeks left in the year, many investors are already looking towards next year's goals. As 2018 comes to an end, many will start to make their predictions for the best places to put money in 2019.
If we take a quick scan of the S&P 500, we can see that there are currently 281 names that are down for the year. Of those 281 names, 71% are large cap stocks, which shows that the aggressive investor, or stock picker, has likely struggled for gains this year. Digging deeper, we see that 184 names in the S&P 500 are lower by 10% or more. Over a third of the S&P 500 is in correction territory. Now, you may think, no big deal, a 10% drop is very normal and healthy - but let's go a little further. Of the 184 names lower by at least 10%, 104 of those names are lower by 20% or more. By now you are likely starting to realize the level of weakness currently in this market. Again, very normal and nothing to cancel the holidays over.
What's done is done and most are beginning to look for new opportunity. Digging even deeper into the market stats, you'll find that amongst all the names currently down on the year, there is something that stands out: the financial sector is the clear downside leader. 22.1% of all losing stocks this year are in the financial sector. So is now the time to dive in and buy the discount?
You would certainly have your choice of areas in the financial sector on which to focus. From the large, global banking centers to the regional banks in the U.S., they are almost all included on this list. Let's get a little geeky though. Remember, of all the S&P 500 stocks that are lower on the year, there are 62 in the financial sector. The stock down the lowest in this group is down by 49.8% and the one down the least is only down only 1.46% (Aflac, Inc.
Your new "financial sector" portfolio would produce a dividend yield of 2.96%. Now, you might normally think that this is not enough considering the weakness in this sector, but that's not too shabby considering that this portfolio has already fallen 17.79%.
Your new portfolio would have a portfolio beta weight of 1.15, which is just a fancy way of saying that if the markets recover in any fashion, your portfolio could recover slightly faster. What's more, you'll still get the dividend.
The moral of the story today is not to look at a weak sector and simply write it off. If one were to carefully think through the possibilities, you may just find some opportunity.