By Gregory Calderone
(Bloomberg) -- Equity markets keep going higher, but not with the help of the usual suspects. This year’s winners are taking a breather and 2017’s biggest lemons are suddenly ripening.
Year-to-date, the S&P 500’s top 10 winners are up an average of 100.3 percent -- but fell 3.6 percent on Thursday. At the other end, the index’s top 10 losers are down on average of 43.1 percent but advanced 3.2 percent Thursday. The overall gauge dropped less than 0.1 percent in the session.
"With the Nasdaq 100 up over 30 percent and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index up 40 percent year-to-date, I would think it is hard to find a fundamental meaning to the price action," said Rich Dunphy, managing director in Canaccord Genuity’s U.S. equities division. "For now, there is clearly a sector rotation, out of tech and into other sectors such as financials or telecom."
Info tech is still the best-performing sector year-to-date with a 36 percent gain, and telecom services the worst, nursing a 12 percent loss.
With the scarcity of fundamental news, traders see investors reducing exposure on both the long and short side of their portfolios to preserve gains as the S&P 500 remains on track for its best year since 2013.
"I can’t recall a day in recent memory when the SOX was off over 5 percent and the S&P 500 was relatively flat," Dunphy said. "The big question everyone is asking is if this is a one or two day event, or the beginning of something bigger into year-end?"