Cautious trade is evident in the monthly sectoral returns of the S&P 500. The relatively low market beta and high yielding telecommunications and utilities sectors have dominated the monthly and year-to-date performance of the index. This shows that safe haven demand has been a far bigger driver of stock market performance than pursuit of earnings growth. The Brexit vote has effectively killed off the likelihood of any interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve, and financial stocks continue to underperform as there is little hope for an improvement in net interest margins.
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