Worst Quarter for U.S. Stocks Since 2015 Has Surprising Leader

(Bloomberg) -- For all the hand wringing over the recent rout in tech stocks, the group’s been the saving grace for stocks during the worst quarter for American equities in 2 1/2 years.

Sure the group’s borne the brunt of selling in the two latest downturns, with everything from Facebook’s privacy gaffe to driverless car accidents battering the sector. Just Tuesday the Fang cohort and its brethren suffered the worst loss since at least 2014.

But the troubles belie just how strong the group started the year.

The S&P 500 Index technology group rallied 7.5 percent in January, while consumer discretionary shares, which include Amazon.com and Netflix, surged 9.2 percent. With a day and a half left in the quarter, those two are the only groups out of 11 in the benchmark index higher for the year.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index is higher by 1 percent in the three months, while the S&P 500 Index has fallen 2.2 percent -- the most since mid-2015.

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