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First Quarter in U.S. Equity Funds: Growth Dominates Value

After a tough 2016, growth made a comeback in 2017's first quarter.

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U.S. stocks continued their march higher during 2017’s first quarter to date through March 30. The S&P 500 was up 6.3%, while the Russell 2000 Index was up 2.2%. For most of the quarter, investors remained upbeat that a Donald Trump presidency would result in pro-growth policy changes, though doubts are mounting after a failed effort to reform U.S. healthcare in late March. Economic data--including employment reports and consumer confidence--was generally strong during the first quarter, contributing to the Federal Reserve's March decision to raise short-term interest rates for the second time in four months.

Technology stocks within the broad Russell 3000 Index have led the way in the first quarter, climbing 12%. Tech giants  Apple (AAPL) and  Facebook (FB) rose nearly 25%, while hardware firms  NetApp Inc (NTAP) and  Western Digital (WDC) climbed more than 15%.  T. Rowe Price Global Technology (PRGTX), with a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver, rose 17.9%. After being the worst-performing sector in 2016, healthcare has bounced back this quarter, climbing 9%. Medical-device makers such as Align Technologies (ALGN),  Abbott Laboratories (ABT), and  Boston Scientific (BSX) rose double-digits. Gold-rated  Vanguard Health Care (VGHCX) climbed 11.1%.

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Andrew Daniels has a position in the following securities mentioned above: AAPL. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.