Investors have had a lot to complain about in the year thatâs passed since U.S. stocks climbed to record highs.
Howard Silverblatt, a stock-market index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, makes light of the situation in the headline of his Thursday research note: Help me Yellen, itâs been a year since my last high.
Indeed, Thursday marks the anniversary of The Dow Jones Industrial Averageâs
record close of 18,312.39. The blue-chip gauge has fallen 4.3% since that point as of Wednesdayâs close, while the S&P 500 index
is off 3.9% since reaching its own record close of 2,130.82 on May 21, 2015.
As MarketWatch writerCarla Mozee points out, the birthday isnât a cause for celebration, given the relatively narrow range stocks have traveled over the past 366 days. The marketâs inability to set new highs is making investors nervous. The last time the S&P 500 and the Dow completed a calendar year without reaching a record closing high was 2012.
Read: Fed open to hiking interest rates in June
Several headwinds are preventing stocks from taking flight again, including signs that the Federal Reserveâs second interest-rate hike in a decade might come sooner than previously believed. Fears about sluggish global growth and weak corporate earnings are also weighing on shares. Stocksâ underperformance makes one thing clear: investors have gotten all too comfortable with high valuations in a year of ultra-accommodative monetary policy.
It is no surprise that the S&P 500âs energy sector, down 16.5%, has been the worst of the large-cap indexâs performers, considering the volatility of crude-oil futures
Meanwhile, utilities, up 6.9%, has been the best-performing S&P sector since mid-May 2015. A table from Silverblatt details the moves:
|S&P 500 sectors||May 18, 2016|
|May 21, 2015|
|S&P 500 Total Return||-1.80%|
For the Dow, Apple Inc.
has been the worst stock, while McDonaldâs Corp.
Â has been the best, as the following table shows:
It is anyoneâs guess where the market will go from here. But at least for now, it appears that investorsâ appetite for stocks is waning.