Which Equity Sectors are Most Sensitive to Rising Interest Rates?

April 17, 2015

Over the past few years, there has been much discussion on the low interest rate environment and what will happen once interest rates begin to rise. Though the Fed has delayed raising its overnight lending rate for far longer than many people initially expected, it seems likely that it will finally begin to raise rates later this year. Coupled with the fact that the 10 yr Treasury yield is once again below 2% and approaching its historical low, an increase in interest rates seems very likely.

This Chart of the Week examines what has happened historically to the sectors of the S&P 500 index when rates on the 10 yr Treasury rise substantially. The chart compares the average monthly returns during seven rising rate periods to the average monthly returns during this entire timeframe. As a whole, the S&P 500 has generally outperformed during these time periods, along with most sectors. Industries that tend to be more cyclical, such as information technology, consumer discretionary, and materials featured the largest outperformance. On the other hand, more conservative sectors failed to beat their averages, with utilities and telecom delivering negative monthly returns. Though it is important to remember that historical results may not always persist in the future, the largely positive returns shown in the chart should help ease the fears of an equity market correction when rates begin to rise.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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