Elsewhere, investors betting on the Russell 2000 to show some outperformance were finally rewarded with a strong month as the small cap index rose 3.12%. And, as has been the theme for the year, the Nasdaq logged more gains with a 1.09% move higher.
On a sector basis (using S&P sector ETFs), the market was pulled higher primarily by Financials. And in a welcome change, Energy (XLE), even though it pulled back from its monthly highs, was able to finish flat for November and hang onto the impressive October gains.
The Nasdaq's November gains now leave it up nearly 8% year to date and well ahead of the other primary domestic equity benchmarks. Also of note, the Russell 2000 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are both near flat for the year after having spent much of 2015 solidly in the red.
The year-to-date returns shown above have left most investors feeling little more than uninspired and the study below by Bespoke digs a little deeper to show why stock market returns have been so "blah" this year. They looked at the Russell 3000 and found that the largest 1% of companies in the index are up an average of 6.6% while the other 99% of stocks are down an average of -3.2%. That's pretty amazing...and depressing. We've said it throughout the year that market leadership has been incredibly narrow and this picture drives the point home further.
|-Jeff Saut (Raymond James)|
However, going back to our friend Mr. Detrick, he pulled a stat that's pretty encouraging if we do indeed finish out the year relatively "flat." He found that S&P returns after a "flat" year (which he defined as a calendar year return between -3% and +3%) have been incredibly strong. There have been 7 years since 1960 where the S&P met his definition of "flat." The index has averaged a return of 19% in the years following and has never returned less than 10%. After the year most investors have had, we're pretty sure they'd be ok with that type of outcome in 2016.