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CHICAGO, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As stocks bounced back and forth, the market managed to make its way through the headwinds it faced in 2012, and Wall Street ended the year on a high note. Still it was a challenge to pick stocks in winning sectors. Financials had decent performance in the first half but really picked up steam in the second half and ended the year as the strongest of the S&P's industry sectors.
Also, the second half of 2012 produced some surprises in sector performance which helped propel several broker's model portfolios to the top of the performance chart. "In the first half of 2012, technology and medical were both hot, especially the big insurers and rehab and at home service providers who were thought to benefit from Obamacare," says Zacks Equity Strategist, Tracey Ryniec. "The medical sector, however, cooled off in the second half once the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare and President Obama was re-elected. The top performers were not heavily invested in the medical sector which helped when the cool off occurred."
On the flip side, according to Ryniec, the energy sector stocks struggled in the first half of the year. In the second half, however, patience was rewarded as it was energy which boosted the top performers, but not in the way you might have thought. "While Big Oil and the explorers still lagged, the refining sector stocks soared due to a very favorable crude spread. If you owned a refiner, 2012 was a very good year."
Zacks Research shows it also paid to be in the transports in the second half of 2012, as railroads, trucking companies and even airlines came into favor with investors for the first time since the Great Recession. "Those with the top performance took advantage of this change in investor sentiment and cashed in on those gains."
While all of the model portfolios ranked by Zacks had positive returns in the second half of the year, the top three outperformed the S&P 500 by wide margins. Taking top honors in the second half was McAdams Wright Ragen. Second and third place went to Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs respectively. The portfolios of all three posted big improvement from the first half of the year.
The top ranked brokerages for second half 2012 (6/30/12- 12/31/12) are as follows…
McAdams Wright Ragen
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
Goldman Sachs took the top spot in the one year category with a 19.44% return and Wedbush Securities in the three year ranking with a 72.98% return. McAdams Wright Regan also led the pack in the five year period with a 38.43% return.
The S&P 500 Index is a well-known, unmanaged index of the prices of 500 large-company common stocks, mainly blue-chip stocks, selected by Standard & Poor's. The S&P 500 Index assumes reinvestment of dividends but does not reflect advisory fees. An investor cannot invest directly in an index.
Zacks' complete rankings for the six month, one, three and five year time periods are available to the media upon request. Zacks calculates the performance of the brokerage "model portfolios" it tracks, on an equal-weighted basis. Total return performance figures include stock price changes, dividends and hypothetical trading commissions of 1% for each addition and deletion to the model portfolios.
The leading brokerage firms employ analysts who produce recommendations for hundreds of stocks, which can not all be bought for a client portfolio. These brokerage firms then create model portfolios from all of the stocks each firm is following. The process to create these lists range from a top down quantitative methodology, to a bottom up fundamental process.
Twice yearly, Zacks Investment Research ranks the performance of the model portfolios of some of the street's top brokerages as well as those with a little less name recognition. The model portfolios in the Zacks survey include U.S. traded equities including ADRs.
Media Contact:Terry RuffoloDirector of Media Relations312-265-9213
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research