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What is a sector?

A sector is a segmented portion of the stock market that organizes companies by their operating business activities. A few examples include technology, healthcare, and energy.

The most common sectors are those listed in the Global Industry Classification Standard, or GICS. GICS has 11 distinct categories: energy, information technology, healthcare, real estate, materials, industrials, consumer discretionary, utilities, consumer staples, financial services, and communication services.

Morningstar uses the same 11 sectors listed by the GICS but also groups sectors together into broader categories based on how sensitive they are to changes in the economic cycle. The healthcare, consumer defensive, and utilities sectors comprise the defensive super sector, while communication services, energy, industrials, and technology sectors make up the sensitive super sector. Basic materials, consumer cyclical, financial services, and real estate form the cyclical super sector.