Sector Rotation: Technology Sector Outperforms in 2015; Avoid the Utilities and Natural Resources Sectors

Summary:

  • The technology sector, led by Apple, semiconductor and large cap Internet companies, has become one of the leading equity sectors in 2015
  • Rising interest rates resulted in a trend reversal for the utility sector
  • The strengthening dollar and declining energy prices cause the natural resources sector to resume its decline

The Nasdaq index (where many of the market-leading technology companies are listed) closed above the historically important 5,000 level yesterday. This level has not been seen since the dot com bubble of 2000. This time around, we think that the bull market in the technology sector is sustainable and stock prices will go higher from here.

One of the best ways to participate in this trend for Fidelity mutual fund investors is by building a position in the Select Technology fund (FSPTX). The top portion of the chart below shows that the relative strength of FSPTX compared to the S&P 500 has turned positive in 2015, which is a very bullish sign:

fsptx

Steadily rising long-term Treasury rates caused a sharp sell off in the interest rate sensitive utilities sector. The chart of the Fidelity Select Utilities Fund (FSUTX) shows that the sector is not participating in the stock market rally and has broken its long-term uptrend:

fsutx

In a previous article we warned that it is too early to invest in the natural resources sector. In spite of the rally in January, this sector continues to be in a downtrend and we think that there are many better investment opportunities in this market.

fnarx

Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

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Stock Market is at All Time High Again; New Investment Opportunities Emerge

The chart of the Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) shows that U.S. equities broke out from a volatile trading range that started in early December of last year. At the same time, the yield of Treasury bonds reversed course, which caused the Spartan Long-Term Treasury Bond Fund (FLBIX) to correct:

fusex

flbix

Mutual funds investing in the leading sectors have continued to advance this year, but may be ripe for a pullback now to their respective moving averages (blue lines on the charts):

fshox

 

fsmex

As the equity market has turned more bullish again, sector rotation has intensified, as well. This is good news for investors, since new investment opportunities are emerging. One example is the Fidelity Select Materials Fund (FSDPX):

fsdpx

Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

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Top 10 Fidelity Mutual Funds

The broad-based rally for U.S. stocks continues, as we approach the seasonally bullish year-end period. The list of the top 10 Fidelity funds (see more at FidelitySignal) is dominated by sector funds representing a diverse set of industries, such as retailing, consumer finance, IT services, health care and transportation:

FidelitySignal_-_Daily_Market_Research

The top year-to-date performer is the Fidelity Select Transportation Fund (FSRFX) with 29.01% gain so far in 2014. The holdings of the fund include airline, shipping and railroad companies, which all benefit from declining energy prices.

fsrfx

 

Stock Market Correction Causes Flight to Safe Investments

As the equity market correction unfolds, the current list of the top 10 Fidelity mutual funds shows a dramatic shift compared to what we have seen throughout the year: seven out of the top ten funds are now income funds.

 

Top 10

One of the most important new developments is that the yield of the 30-year Treasury bond continues in a downtrend causing long-term Treasury bonds to to resume a very strong uptrend:

tyx

flbix

The weakest investments that I highlighted in previous blog articles, such as mutual funds investing in the Eurozone and energy, have continued to decline. However, they are so oversold now that it would not be surprising to see a relief rally.

fieux

fsesx

The market leaders of the last 12 months, including technology and communications sectors, are turning over now, which is a worrisome sign about the short-term prospects of the stock market:

fwrlx

View investment strategies at FidelitySignal.com

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The Defense Sector Lags the Market

The earnings season often brings volatility for equities, but this summer the bullish trend stayed uninterrupted for the S&P 500 index. The benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) has gained an impressive 5.85% return in the last three months:

fusex

The Fidelity Select Defense/Aerospace Fund (FSDAX) is the weakest performing Fidelity fund with a -2.63% year-to-date return. The chart below shows that the relative strength of this sector has been declining since the January correction. The chart pattern is negative, as well. We would avoid investing in this sector until FSDAX regains its momentum and moves above the 100-day moving average line.

fsdax

Gold Stocks Enter a New Bull Market

After reaching a multi-year low a year ago, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) has now decisively advanced past a treacherous up and down trading range and started the initial stage of a potentially long-term new bull market.

The first rally came in August 2013, which signaled the end of the bear market for the gold sector. However, prices unexpectedly reversed the bullish trend in September following the highly publicized selling of gold assets by hedge funds, which also coincided with low inflation expectations.

In December, gold stocks revisited the June lows, but were able to hold this level creating a chart pattern that is known as the double bottom. From the December low the sector rallied strongly and has been making higher highs and higher lows, which is one of the hallmarks of a bullish trend. As the result, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) is the best performing Fidelity mutual fund so far in 2014 with an outstanding 35.11% return.

We must caution investors that the gold sector can be highly volatile and investing in gold stocks is often regarded as highly speculative. Investing in the broader natural resources sector provides more diversification and may be more appropriate for a conservative portfolio (read more on the Fidelity Natural Resources Fund).

fsagx

See more portfolio strategies at FidelitySignal.com

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The Best Fidelity Funds Right Now May Surprise You

Volatility has increased in the equity markets in the last two weeks, which makes it confusing for investors to see where the market is headed. That is why it may be useful to take a look at the top 10 ranked Fidelity funds (ranking is provided by FidelitySignal):

FidelitySignal_Top 10

To make sense of the current market dynamics, let’s focus on the Fidelity funds with green arrows in the weekly column. These are the investments that both make the top 10 ranking and also have increased their rank compared to a week ago.

On top of the list is the Fidelity Select Natural Gas Fund (FSNGX). The top panel in the chart below shows that FSNGX has a very strong relative strength (ratio of the the fund and the $SPY tracking index) compared to the S&P 500 index:

fsngx

Our second example is the Fidelity Select Natural Resources Fund (FNARX). As noted in earlier blog articles, FNARX continues to outperform other equity sectors:

fnarx

The third example is the Fidelity Real Estate Income Fund (FRIFX). We highlighted FRIFX as a top income investment choice for 2014 in previous articles and FRIFX continues to show a strong positive trend:

frifx

Now, let’s contrast our top  movers with the currently weakest sector, which is biotechnology (see FBIOX chart below):

fbiox

 

In conclusion, while utilities and other defensive sectors are making gains, as well, the current market environment seems to favor natural resources and real estate investments.

 

Buy and sell signals are available at FidelitySignal.com

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