Imagine that six months ago, you are told what the future looks like: an unknown and highly contagious virus will spread across the globe. All over the world, businesses are mandated to close their doors. Economies grind to a halt. Hundreds of thousands die from disease, and millions more find themselves without jobs. In the United States, the labor market faces the worst damage in industries like leisure and hospitality, and retail trade, as industry unemployment rates surge to 35.9% and 15.1%, respectively.
In such a scenario, how might you position your investment portfolio? Would you have predicted that only six months later, with the virus still spreading, stock prices would be virtually unchanged? And if so, which sector would you expect to lead the way? Probably not the one where the unemployment rate rose the most.
But you’d be wrong.
Consumer Discretionary, the home to hotels, cruise lines, restaurants, and your favorite retail store, just set a new all-time high. It’s the first sector to do so.
Investing is hard.
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