Investors moving out of defensive stocks

Perhaps everyone is feeling better about the economy -- at least enough to venture out of these sectors.

By Kim Peterson Aug 20, 2012 4:46PM
The stock market is in fine shape -- 80% of all the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) are above their 50-day moving averages, reports Bespoke Investment Group.

But all four defensive sectors -- telecom, consumer staples, healthcare and utilities -- don't meet that threshold. In fact, the most defensive sector of all, utilities, is not faring very well, Bespoke reports.

Only 39% of utilities stocks are higher than their 50-day moving averages. That's way below healthcare, in which 63% of stocks are higher. Consumer staples has 68% of stocks higher than their averages, and telecom has 75%.

Investors are moving out of defensive stocks and into financials, technology and industrials. Those three categories are about 90% above their 50-day moving averages.

Let's take a look at what's happened to some key defensive stocks lately:

Kroger (KR)
After spending most of March above the $24 mark, Kroger has fallen to close at $22.13 Monday. The supermarket giant has been below its 50-day moving average for months.











Johnson & Johnson
(JNJ)
The stock is starting to turn down after topping $69 at the end of July. It closed Monday at $67.70. The stock has been above its 50-day moving average since about mid-June, but it's been falling and is just about equal to its 50-day average at this point.











Consolidated Edison
(ED)
This utility stock is also in a downturn after starting the month close to $65. It closed Monday at $61.96. It just fell below its 50-day moving average this month.











Southern Company
(SO)
Another one on the way down. This utility stock was above $48 at the start of the month, but closed Monday at $45.97. It's also below its 50-day moving average.











AT&T
(T)
The telecom giant is still cruising, closing Monday at $36.89. It's climbed nearly 32% over the last year, paying off nicely for investors looking for dividends and safety. The stock has seen just the slightest of slowdowns over the last few days, but that's certainly not enough to make a trend. The stock is still above its 50-day moving average.








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