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Consumer discretionary stocks rose most in 2013

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Vendors of non-essential consumer services surged in 2013, boosted by two of the stock market's star performers, Netflix and Best Buy.  (AP) Vendors of non-essential consumer services surged in 2013, boosted by two of the stock market's star performers, Netflix and Best Buy. (AP)
SummaryStandard & Poor's 500 index logged its best year since 1997, gaining 29.6 pct.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index logged its best year since 1997, gaining 29.6 per cent. All 10 industry groups that make up the index rose, led by consumer discretionary stocks, a broad category that includes department stores, restaurants and entertainment companies. Telecommunications stocks rose the least. Here's a breakdown:

CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY: Vendors of non-essential consumer services surged in 2013, boosted by two of the stock market's star performers, Netflix and Best Buy. This year's gain: 41 per cent.

HEALTH CARE: Stocks in this sector gained for a number of reasons. Some offered the prospect of explosive growth because of new drugs, others offered rich dividends. Health insurers also did well as the Affordable Health Care Act rolled out. This year's gain: 38.7 per cent.

INDUSTRIALS: Delta Air Lines was the biggest gainer in this sector. Airlines do well when the economy is improving as people travel more. This year's gain: 37.6 per cent.

FINANCIALS: Banks, insurers and other financial stocks gained on optimism that the industry is healing after the financial crisis and the Great Recession. This year's gain: 33.2 per cent.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Chipmaker Micron was the biggest gainer in the technology sector as demand for its products rose and its profitability improved. Facebook and Yahoo also had good years. This year's gain: 26.2 per cent.

MATERIALS: Sealed Air, which makes Bubble Wrap and other types of packaging, led the gains in this the sector after returning to profitability. This year's gain: 22.7 per cent.

CONSUMER STAPLES: Makers of everyday products gained, as food companies, brewers and grocers all rose. This year's gain: 22.7 per cent.

ENERGY: Oil prices rose and U.S.-based drillers increased production. Natural gas producers got a lift as prices rose from the 20-year lows they hit in 2012. This year's gain: 22.3 per cent.

UTILITIES: Power companies have limited growth prospects, but everybody needs power, and these companies pay healthy dividends. This year's gain: 8.8 per cent.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Phone companies are similar to power companies; steady demand, but with limited prospects for growth. They also pay big dividends. This year's gain: 6.5 per cent.

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