The 11 Different Stock Market Sectors


Knowing these sectors can help investors understand the market and build diversified portfolios. Learn all about how the classification system that separates the stock market into 11 sectors can help investors understand the different sectors of the economy. If you’re trying to determine the biggest market sector is, you could base it on the number of industries covered. In that scenario, it would seem that industrials would be the largest sector overall while energy and real estate would be the smallest since they only cover two industries apiece.

11 sectors of the stock market

Demand for fossil fuels has fallen in recent years thanks to growing demand for renewables and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The sector doesn’t include producers of traditional fossil fuels, like oil and gas companies. Many Utilities companies are specialised according to geography and/or the type of utility provided (e.g. Duke Energy in the Southeast US, or Canadian Solar).

How to Include All Sectors in Your Investment Portfolio

The consumer discretionary sector is made up of those companies that produce goods that consumers want but don’t necessarily need. These companies tend to be cyclical since they do well when the economy is booming but not when the economy is down. Not only are the sector breakdowns a convenient way to categorize companies in the market, but they also make it easier for investors to ensure they have a well-diversified portfolio. Portfolio diversification is important because it ensures you have exposure to all parts of the stock market. Not all sectors are correlated, meaning when some sectors are doing well, others might be underperforming.

Companies within this sector market their products and services to consumers, who in turn buy these goods with discretionary income. Some of the businesses in this sector are in retail, travel, automobiles, restaurants, and luxury goods, to name a few. The fortunes of many of these companies rise and fall with the economy because they depend on consumers having extra cash to spend.

To access and trade the different stock market sectors, you need to have a brokerage account. Large fund companies that managed index-based funds had to buy more of these real estate stocks in order to match the new weightings in the sector index. The communication services sector is the newest of the GICS sectors and includes a couple of major areas that used to be part of other sectors.

Out of the 11 sectors, IT showed the highest growth in the three years leading up to mid-2022 and was the top performer in 2019 and 2020. The IT sector includes some of the market’s largest companies, such as Alphabet , Meta , and Apple. The 11 stock market sectors play an important role in the U.S. stock market.

GICS was developed in 1999 by MSCI and Standard & Poor’s, two giants in the financial industry. The information technology sector covers companies involved in the different categories of technological innovation. Information technology also includes makers of semiconductors and the’’ equipment used to produce semiconductor chips. The energy sector includes some of the largest energy companies in the world, such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron . As the name suggests, the newest addition to the S&P sectors includes Real Estate Investment Trusts , as well as realtors and other companies.

  • The structure is used globally and is the basis for many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds .
  • The utilities sector is comprised of companies that provide essential services, including electric, natural gas and water.
  • The downside of mutual funds include the lack of transparency when buying or selling since you don’t know the price until after the close.
  • Cyclical stocks took a hit in 2020 as people tightened spending in the first half of the year.
  • Other companies within this sector include AT&T, CBS Corp., and Facebook.

Higher-quality stocks often have the largest market capitalizations and are the most widely owned. Within the sectors, there are 24 industry groups, 69 stock market industries and 158 sub-industries forex4you broker review that encompass all major publicly listed companies. While this can seem overwhelming at first, there is a method to the madness — many of the companies are household names and brands.

The real estate sector consists of companies invested in residential, industrial, and retail real estate. The main source of revenue for these companies comes from rent income and real estate capital appreciation. The industrial sector consists of aerospace, defense, machinery, construction, fabrication and manufacturing companies. In general, the industry’s growth is driven by demand for building construction and manufactured products like agricultural equipment. Also, you can compare how consumer discretionary ETFs as a subgroup compare with other subgroups of sector ETFs – for example, financials.

Here’s a breakdown of stock market sectors explained, what stock sectors are, a list of the 11 different stock market sectors, and some tips on how to use them to your advantage. The real estate sector includes real estate services companies, real estate developers how to choose broker platform for day trading and equity REITs. This sector may offer strong growth opportunities, but shows steady growth overall. The communication services sector includes telecommunication and media companies, entertainment companies and those producing content and interactive games.

The financials sector includes businesses that are primarily related to handling money. U.S. stock market sectors include energy, real estate, financial, health care, and every other key industry. Some of the more common industries in this sector include banking, mortgages, financial services, consumer finance, asset management, capital markets, financial exchanges, REITs, insurance, and more. For broad exposure to individual stock market sectors, you could buy shares of sector-specific mutual funds or exchange-traded funds . Mutual funds and ETFs are investment instruments comprised of large baskets of stocks that concentrate on a common theme or market — in this case, any given sector you want exposure to.

They provide the key supplies that go into the products that you and I purchase. The basic materials sector stocks are chemical, construction materials, packaging, metals, and paper. But if your goal is to be a killer trader, you must understand the different stock sectors and why they matter. Many large energy companies, such as BP and Equinor, are diversifying their operations into the renewables industry. Integrated power companies like these are classified in the Energy sector.

Microsoft, Intel, Visa, MasterCard, Adobe, Salesforce, and Square are some of the largest companies in the tech sector. But they need to buy food and household goods — and they’ll likely buy those things from supermarkets. DowDuPont, Ecolab, Valvoline, Scotts Miracle-Gro, and Sherwin-Williams are all in the materials sector. Here’s a look at each sector, along with some of the largest and best known companies in each. Our Oil and Gas share basket​ offers traders convenient exposure to the Energy sector, as do specialised ETFs such as the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund​. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate.

What are stock market sectors?

Companies in this sector provide products and services that enable individuals to communicate with each other on a global scale. This is a new sector that also includes former technology companies originally in the information technology sector. This sector includes telecommunication services and media and entertainment. The information technology sector includes companies that make software, build IT equipment and hardware, implement technological solutions, and produce semiconductor chips. Some of the companies in this sector also make communications equipment such as mobile phones and laptops.

11 sectors of the stock market

Companies in the sector include American Tower Corp., Boston Properties, and Equinix. This includes food and beverage companies, household product providers, and personal product providers. Consumer staple companies are well known, since people see their products in stores regularly. For example, Procter & Gamble is a famous company within this sector, which produces bleach and laundry detergent under brand names such as Dawn and Tide. Another example is Kroger, which is the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. Cannabis companies are a new, but rapidly growing, part of the health care sector.

What Are the 11 Stock Sectors?

If you want to invest in stock market sectors,you have a number of options at your disposal. After researching the sectors you wish to invest in, you can select your investing method. Keep the risks in mind with each method as well as the volatility involved with each sector. The stock market is like an ocean of over 6,000 stocks moving simultaneously throughout the day. These groups are organized into general categories known as stock market sectors. We’ve already talked about the energy sector, which includes companies that explore, produce, and store energy sources.

11 sectors of the stock market

A better way to measure sector size, however, is using market capitalization. Market Cap is the sum of the market value of each company assigned to the applicable GICS sector or industry. Market value or capitalization is calculated by multiplying the number of common shares outstanding by the market price per share at the end of each trading day. “A rising tide lifts all boats” is a common saying in the stock market. When there is particular buying strength in a sector, it tends to lift the component stocks along with it.

Some utility companies engage in more than one of these different subspecialties. Health care consists of medical supply companies, pharmaceutical companies, and scientific-based operations or services that aim to improve the human body or mind. Familiar names include Johnson & Johnson, a medical device and pharmaceutical company that owns Tylenol, and Abiomed, which manufactures medical implant devices. By tracking sectors, you can learn a lot about the performance of the market and the entire economy. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Finally, it’s also important to keep an eye on market trends and the economy as a whole.

Check out our Stock Exposure tool to view and download a list of all ETFs that can provide you with exposure to a specific stock. For instance, the screenshot below shows a partial list of all ETFs holding J.P. Each week, you’ll get a crash course on the biggest issues to make your next financial decision the right one. Some of the largest companies in the utilities sector are Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, and The Southern Company. Some of the largest companies in the industrials sector are Honeywell, Boeing, and Union Pacific.

Real Estate Sector

Just as each room has specific types of furniture, each sector has certain types of stocks. You wouldn’t put a dining room table in the bathroom, and you wouldn’t lump energy giant ExxonMobil in with a bunch of consumer electronic stocks like Apple . This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice.

In general, these companies generate recurring revenue from consumers, but some subsets of the industry are facing rapid change. The technology sector consists of electronics manufacturers, software developers and information technology firms. In general, these businesses are driven by upgrade cycles and the general health of the economy, although growth has been robust over the years. The materials sector is made up of companies that manufacture and market goods used in manufacturing. Included in the materials sector are companies that produce chemicals, construction materials, containers & packaging, metals, paper, and forest products.

How to Allocate Commodities in Portfolios

She’s a longtime member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling . While Apple currently has a “Moderate Buy” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys. Classifications make it easier to track, compare and organize the performance of not only the companies within the categories but also the categories themselves. At NextAdvisor we’re firm believers in transparency and editorial independence. Editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our partners.


Unlike consumer discretionary companies, consumer staples companies make products that people buy on a regular basis. Discretionary products are products that people don’t need to xm forex broker review purchase. The Telecommunication Services industry includes wireless and diversified telecommunication services companies — essentially, telephone and internet network providers.

The consumer discretionary sector includes companies that produce cars, durable goods, clothing and leisure equipment. It also includes restaurants, hotels and consumer retailing, among others. This sector is sensitive to economic cycles, so when the economy grows, these companies tend to grow much more quickly, though when it slows, this industry typically slows even more. Growth in the industrials sector also lagged in the three years leading up to mid-2022, compared to the S&P 500. This sector includes companies that make and sell equipment and provide commercial, professional, and transportation services. Some of the industries in this sector include aerospace, defense, construction, engineering, and infrastructure.

It was beaten down even more in the pandemic crash in March 2020, when oil went negative for the first time in history. If you had instead picked stocks in separate sectors you would have fared better. Cyclical stocks took a hit in 2020 as people tightened spending in the first half of the year. Shareholders, some investors take long-term holds in these stocks and expect dividend checks every three months. They have little to no competition in the areas where they operate, and local governments regulate most of their prices.


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