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Fund Spy

Third Quarter in U.S. Stock Funds: Steady as She Goes

It was a relatively calm quarter for domestic-stock funds.

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After a volatile first half in which growth stocks posted double-digit gains while energy stocks suffered big losses, U.S. stocks settled down in 2017’s third quarter. With the U.S. economy slowly chugging along, corporate earnings producing few major surprises, and oil prices on the rise after sinking in the year’s first half, the major stock indexes all produced modest single-digit gains for the quarter, with the S&P 500 hitting new all-time highs. Although there was plenty of news, including devastation from hurricanes and continued political turmoil in Washington, D.C., the markets mostly shrugged it off.

This relative steadiness extended across the universe of domestic-stock funds. All nine sections of the Morningstar Style Box had average gains of between 2.8% and 5.1% for the quarter through Sept. 28, tightly clustered around the S&P 500’s 4% return over the same period. Returns for sector funds were a bit more dispersed, but not by much; the worst performers were real estate and consumer defensive funds, which were roughly flat for the quarter, while energy, natural resources, and technology funds gained more than 7% on average.

David Kathman does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.