Freshly carved out of the Financial sector, REITs are the newest Sector in the S&P 500. Sectors – like Financials, Information Technology and Consumer Staples – are the broadest classification of stocks with industry groups and sub-industries further demarcation points. The weighting of financial stocks in the S&P 500 fell by a fifth and REITs now comprise 3.1% of the index giving them a higher weight than materials, telecoms and utilities.
REITs were previously grouped with financials because they shared some qualities with financial stocks. Both Financials and REITs, for instance, have been more volatile than the S&P 500 as a whole with standard deviation of 7% compared to the index’s standard deviation of 4%. But while mortgage REITs will continue to be classified as financial companies, the pairing with equity REITs made less sense as the correlation between eREITs and financial companies is less than the correlation between financials and the rest of the S&P 500.