Energy and Communication Sectors Top Q1 Standouts on S&P 500: A Look at the 10 Best-Performing Stocks – XLE and XLC

Energy and Communication Sectors Top Q1 Standouts on S&P 500: A Look at the 10 Best-Performing Stocks – XLE and XLC

The first quarter of 2024 proved to be an eventful period for investors as the S&P 500 Index exhibited significant growth, surging by 9.94%. Among the various sectors comprising the index, two sectors stood out for their remarkable performance: energy and communication services.

The S&P 500 Index is widely tracked by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY, the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV and the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF VOO.

Also Read: Goldman Sachs Predicts 15% Upside For S&P 500, AI Boom Could Drive Market To 6,000

Let’s delve deeper into the standout sectors and the top-performing stocks within each.

Energy Sector: A Strong Rally (+13.47%)

The energy sector, represented by the SPDR Energy Select Sector Fund XLE, experienced a notable upswing with a growth rate of 13.47% during Q1. This surge can be attributed to multiple factors, including the ongoing global economic recovery, increased demand for oil and gas, and supply chain disruptions impacting the sector.

Chart: Benzinga Pro

Leading the charge in the energy sector were several key stocks that significantly contributed to its impressive performance:

  1. Marathon Petroleum Corp. MPC: With a remarkable surge of 37.78%, Marathon Petroleum stock has emerged as one of the top-performing stocks in the energy sector. The company, which engages in refining, marketing, and transportation of petroleum products, benefited from rising oil prices and strong demand for refined products.
  2. Valero Energy Corp VLO: Valero Energy stock recorded a substantial gain of 32.80% during Q1. As one of the largest independent petroleum refining and marketing companies, Valero capitalized on favorable market conditions, robust refining margins, and operational efficiencies to drive its impressive performance.
  3. Targa Resources Corp TRGP: Targa Resources’ stock witnessed a solid growth rate of 29.19% in Q1. The company, specializing in the gathering, processing, and storage of natural gas and natural gas liquids, benefited from increased demand for natural gas and higher commodity prices.
  4. Diamondback Energy Inc FANG: Diamondback Energy, an independent oil and natural gas company, saw its stock price surge by 28.61% during the first quarter. The company’s focus on efficient operations, cost discipline, and strategic asset development contributed to its strong performance amid favorable market conditions.
  5. Phillips 66 PSX: Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company. Its stock delivered a solid performance with a growth rate of 22.68% in Q1. The company’s integrated business model, along with its focus on operational excellence and capital discipline, positioned it well to capitalize on improving market dynamics.

Communication Services: Riding High (+13.25%)

While the energy sector led the pack, communication services emerged as a close second in terms of performance. The Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund XLC, which adequately represents the sector’s equity, posted a return of 13.25% over the past 3 months. This sector, encompassing companies involved in telecommunications, media, and entertainment, benefited from various factors driving demand for digital services and content consumption.

Chart: Benzinga Pro

Here are the top-performing stocks within the communication services sector:

  1. Meta Platforms, Inc. Class A META: Formerly known as Facebook, Meta Platforms’ stock witnessed an impressive surge of 38.82% in Q1. The company’s strategic focus on the metaverse, virtual reality technologies, and digital advertising propelled its stock to new heights, despite regulatory challenges and controversies.
  2. Walt Disney Co DIS: Walt Disney stock experienced robust growth of 34.60% during the first quarter. The entertainment giant’s diversified portfolio of media networks, theme parks, and streaming services, coupled with successful content releases and the gradual recovery of the global tourism industry, contributed to its stellar performance.
  3. Netflix Inc NFLX: Netflix is a leading streaming service provider. Netflix stock’s performance during the past quarter was solid, recording a growth rate of 26.17% in Q1. The company continued to benefit from the secular shift towards digital streaming, the success of its original content, and its expanding international subscriber base.
  4. Verizon Communications Inc VZ: Verizon Communications is a well-known telecommunications company. Its stock posted a respectable gain of 12.15% during the first quarter. The company’s focus on expanding its 5G network infrastructure, improving customer experiences, and diversifying its revenue streams contributed to its steady growth.
  5. Omnicom Group Inc OMC: Leading global marketing and corporate communications company, Omnicom Group’s stock price rose by 11.64% in Q1. The company’s diverse range of advertising, marketing, and public relations services, combined with its ability to adapt to evolving consumer trends, supported its solid performance.

The first quarter of 2024 witnessed robust performance across various sectors of the S&P 500 index. The energy sector emerged as the top performer, while communication services followed closely behind. The financials sector, as represented by the SPDR Select Sector Fund – Financial XLF, was up 11.30% while the industrials sector came in fourth at 9.65%. The industrials sector is tracked by the SPDR Select Sector Fund – Industrial XLI.

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Image generated using artificial intelligence via Midjourney.

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