Mar 1, 2023 - Economy

Ugly February for stocks eats into market's gains

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 dropped sharply in February, as a decline in healthcare and energy shares offset a solid showing for tech stocks.

The big picture: After notching gains of 6% in January, February's stumble suggests that investors' path to recouping last year's ugly losses may not be straightforward.

  • The S&P is now up just 3.4% for the year.

Flashback: The index fell 19.4% in 2022, its worst showing since 2008.

Zoom in: Energy stocks were the worst-performing part of the market during February, despite generating massive profits last year.

  • Investors seemed to be betting that oil and gas prices — which are down significantly since last summer — won't return to the nosebleed levels seen in 2022 any time soon.
  • In tech — the lone positive sector of the S&P — shares were led higher by chipmakers like Nvidia, which investors think are well positioned to benefit from a rebound in video gaming and surging interest in artificial intelligence.

Go deeper