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  S&P 500 Stock Prices Relative To Their All-Time Highs
Posted Under: Sectors
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View from the Observation Deck

A myriad of factors, including expectations regarding the direction of U.S monetary policy and developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), sent the S&P 500 Index (“Index”) surging by 17.37% year-to-date (YTD) through 9/18/23. Eight of the eleven sectors that comprise the Index are positive YTD over the same period. That said, the Index closed at 4,453.53 on 9/18/23, 7.15% below its all-time high of 4,796.56 set on 1/3/22. Where do each of the eleven sectors stand with regards to their respective all-time highs? This post serves as an update to a recent blog entry (click here for the last time we posted on this topic).

  • As revealed by the chart above, all eleven sectors that comprise the Index sit below their all-time highs as of 9/18/23.
  • The Energy sector is closest to its all-time high (-1.88 %), while Real Estate was furthest (-29.88%). Communication Services and Information Technology, the two top performing sectors in the Index on a YTD basis, stood -17.48% and -6.44%, respectively, below their all-time highs.
  • As of 9/18/23, 284 stocks in the S&P 500 Index (currently 503) had positive returns on a price-only basis in 2023, according to data from Bloomberg. Those 284 stocks only account for 56.5% of the 503 holdings. For comparison, just 145 stocks in the Index finished the 2022 with positive price returns.
  • A Bloomberg survey of 22 equity strategists found that their average year-end price target for the S&P 500 Index was 4,366 as of 9/18/23, according to its own release. The highest estimate was 4,900, while the lowest was 3,700.

Takeaway: The S&P 500 Index continues to experience a remarkable year thus far in 2023. That said, neither the broader Index nor any of its eleven sectors have been able to recapture their all-time highs. Even the Communication Services and Information Technology sectors, which posted total returns of 45.51% and 39.10%, respectively (YTD through 9/18/23), are substantially below their highs. The most recent Bloomberg survey of equity strategists revealed an average year-end price target for the S&P 500 Index of 4,366 (22 strategists surveyed). Notably, this same survey stood at an average of 4,017 just a few short months ago (5/18/23, 23 strategists surveyed). We’ll leave it to the pundits to debate the day-to-day direction of equity markets. From our perspective, investors with a long-term view should take comfort in the fact that given enough time, equity markets have never failed to produce new highs.

This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. There can be no assurance that any of the projections cited will occur. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance, while the 11 major S&P 500 Sector Indices are capitalization-weighted and comprised of S&P 500 constituents representing a specific sector.  

Download a PDF of this post, please click here

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 @ 12:17 PM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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