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January 13, 2012  Fri 12:20 PM CT

SPX: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
In 2011, the worst-performing sectors were the financial and materials sectors. This year? Last-year's losers are 2012's winners.

So far the financial sector is up 5.92 percent for the year, and materials are up more than 7.3 percent. Even more remarkable is that the advance in materials has occurred as the U.S. Dollar Index has risen as well.

As for last year's winners, the utilities and staples are now the worst performers. Utilities are down more than 3.5 percent, and staples are lower by 1.1 percent.

Sector breadth in 2012 is also the inverse of last year. Only two sectors are down, the utilities and staples.

The big challenge now is whether sector breadth can remain this strong as we head into earnings season.
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Timing the Trade

Both break outs and a break downs need to have a couple things happen before it is considered a confirmed break out or break down by technical definition!  The only problem is that in today's market where things move much more quicker than they did just a few years ago, two days could wind up being the majority of the expected movement, if not the whole movement.

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