Stocks quoted in this article:
The action among the sector indices is showing a decidedly different flavor when comparing the action of the five-day periods ahead of the current and previous Federal Open Market Committee meetings. In the past five sessions, the tone has been decidedly bearish among the sector indices with 6 of 27 indices in positive territory. The following are the top four performing indices over the past five days: the PHLX KBW Banking Index (BKX - 764.76), up 6.63 percent; the AMEX Pharmaceutical Index (DRG - 361.3), up 4.82 percent; the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Products Index (RXP - 839.2), up 2.52 percent; and the AMEX North American Telecom Index (XTC - 1543.38), up 1.40 percent. The four indices showing the most weakness over the past five days are: the AMEX Tobacco Index (TOBX - 60.92), down 4.37 percent; the AMEX Oil and Gas Index (XOI - 470.45), down 3.87 percent; the S&P Retail Index (RLX - 923.4), down 3.42 percent; and the AMEX Biotechnology Index (BTK - 438.51), down 3.37 percent.
The leaders and lagging groups heading into the last FOMC meeting were sharply different from the above performance. Many of the sector indices were higher for the five day period ended December 20 with 14 of 27 indices in positive territory. The following were the top four performing indices: the AMEX Computer Technology Index (XCI - 923.5), up 6.55 percent; the CBOE Automotive Index (AUX - 558.8), up 6.11 percent; the PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX - 818.4), up 5.75 percent; and the AMEX Biotechnology Index (BTK - 438.01), up 3.59 percent. The four indices showing the most weakness were: the S&P Insurance Index (IUX - 558.8), down 5.91 percent; the PHLX KBW Banking Index (BKX - 764.2), down 5.34 percent; the CBOE Gaming Index (GAX - 235.17), down 3.09 percent; and the AMEX Pharmaceutical Index (DRG - 360.6), down 2.35 percent.<