Investing in the GICS sectors. How are they defined? Why do these matter & how do you invest in one? This page answers these questions and more.
The Global Industry Classification Standard
The GICS is a unified framework that can be applied to any company, and therefore investing instrument, to determine in what sector & industry it belongs:
Investors do not need to apply the GICs as every publicly traded company has been given a classification already, to ensure consistency and ease of use. When working from stock or ETF, the page from the official organization or broker will list this classification.
Should you want to work by selecting an industry and sector first, then you can go to the official website right now and do so. Afterwards, simply search your broker or this site on instruments from that segment.
GICS sectors, industry group & industries
The official GICS structure can be found below. On the website, you have to know the first sector to determine its industry type, to end up at the industry.
With the below table, if you know you are looking for Hotels, you can use control + F on this page to find Hotels that belong in the consumer services & consumer discretionary segments.
|ENERGY||Energy||ENERGY EQUIPMENT & SERVICES|
|ENERGY||Energy||OIL, GAS & CONSUMABLE FUELS|
|MATERIALS||Materials||CONTAINERS & PACKAGING|
|MATERIALS||Materials||METALS & MINING|
|MATERIALS||Materials||PAPER & FOREST PRODUCTS|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||AEROSPACE & DEFENSE|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||BUILDING PRODUCTS|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||INDUSTRIAL CONGLOMERATES|
|INDUSTRIALS||Capital Goods||TRADING COMPANIES & DISTRIBUTORS|
|INDUSTRIALS||Commercial & Professional services||COMMERCIAL SERVICES & SUPPLIES|
|INDUSTRIALS||Commercial & Professional services||PROFESSIONAL SERVICES|
|INDUSTRIALS||Transportation||AIR FREIGHT & LOGISTICS|
|INDUSTRIALS||Transportation||ROAD & RAIL|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Automobiles & components||AUTO COMPONENTS|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Automobiles & components||AUTOMOBILES|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Consumer durables & apparel||HOUSEHOLD DURABLES|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Consumer durables & apparel||LEISURE PRODUCTS|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Consumer durables & apparel||TEXTILES, APPAREL & LUXURY GOODS|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Consumer services||HOTELS, RESTAURANTS & LEISURE|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Consumer services||DIVERSIFIED CONSUMER SERVICES|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Retailing||INTERNET & DIRECT MARKETING RETAIL|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Retailing||MULTILINE RETAIL|
|CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY||Retailing||SPECIALTY RETAIL|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Food & staples retailing||FOOD & STAPLES RETAILING|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Food, beverages & tobacco||BEVERAGES|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Food, beverages & tobacco||FOOD PRODUCTS|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Food, beverages & tobacco||TOBACCO|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Household & personal products||HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS|
|CONSUMER STAPLES||Household & personal products||PERSONAL PRODUCTS|
|HEALTH CARE||Health care equipment & services||HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES|
|HEALTH CARE||Health care equipment & services||HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS & SERVICES|
|HEALTH CARE||Health care equipment & services||HEALTH CARE TECHNOLOGY|
|HEALTH CARE||Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology & life sciences||BIOTECHNOLOGY|
|HEALTH CARE||Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology & life sciences||PHARMACEUTICALS|
|HEALTH CARE||Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology & life sciences||LIFE SCIENCES TOOLS & SERVICES|
|FINANCIALS||Banks||THRIFTS & MORTGAGE FINANCE|
|FINANCIALS||Diversified financials||DIVERSIFIED FINANCIAL SERVICES|
|FINANCIALS||Diversified financials||CONSUMER FINANCE|
|FINANCIALS||Diversified financials||CAPITAL MARKETS|
|FINANCIALS||Diversified financials||MORTGAGE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS (REITS)|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Software & Services||IT SERVICES|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Software & Services||SOFTWARE|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Technology, hardware & equipment||COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Technology, hardware & equipment||TECHNOLOGY HARDWARE, STORAGE & PERIPHERALS|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Technology, hardware & equipment||ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT, INSTRUMENTS & COMPONENTS|
|INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY||Semiconductors, semiconductor equipment||SEMICONDUCTORS & SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT|
|COMMUNICATION SERVICES||Communication services||DIVERSIFIED TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES|
|COMMUNICATION SERVICES||Communication services||WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES|
|COMMUNICATION SERVICES||Media & entertainment||MEDIA|
|COMMUNICATION SERVICES||Media & entertainment||ENTERTAINMENT|
|COMMUNICATION SERVICES||Media & entertainment||INTERACTIVE MEDIA & SERVICES|
|UTILITIES||Utilities||INDEPENDENT POWER AND RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY PRODUCERS|
|REAL ESTATE||Real estate||EQUITY REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS (REITS)|
|REAL ESTATE||Real estate||REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT|
GICS sector definitions
Each sector has a clear to semi-clear definition to ensure a company belongs to at least one of the 11 categories & subtypes. Below, each sector’s official description can be found:
- Energy Sector: Companies engaged in exploration & production, refining & marketing, and storage & transportation of oil & gas and coal & consumable fuels. It also includes companies that offer oil & gas equipment and services.
- Materials Sector: Companies that manufacture chemicals, construction materials, glass, paper, forest products and related packaging products, and metals, minerals and mining companies, including producers of steel.
- Industrials Sector: Includes manufacturers and distributors of capital goods such as aerospace & defense, building products, electrical equipment and machinery and companies that offer construction & engineering services. It also includes providers of commercial & professional services including printing, environmental and facilities services, office services & supplies, security & alarm services, human resource & employment services, research & consulting services. It also includes companies that provide transportation services.
- Consumer Discretionary Sector: This sector encompasses those businesses that tend to be the most sensitive to economic cycles. Its manufacturing segment includes automotive, household durable goods, leisure equipment and textiles & apparel. The services segment includes hotels, restaurants and other leisure facilities, media production and services, and consumer retailing and services.
- Consumer Staples Sector: This sector comprises companies whose businesses are less sensitive to economic cycles. It includes manufacturers and distributors of food, beverages and tobacco and producers of non-durable household goods and personal products. It also includes food & drug retailing companies as well as hypermarkets and consumer super centers.
- Health Care Sector: Includes health care providers & services, companies that manufacture and distribute health care equipment & supplies, and health care technology companies. It also includes companies involved in the research, development, production and marketing of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products.
- Financials Sector: Companies involved in banking, thrifts & mortgage finance, specialized finance, consumer finance, asset management and custody banks, investment banking and brokerage and insurance. It also includes Financial Exchanges & Data and Mortgage REITs.
- Information Technology Sector: It comprises companies that offer software and information technology services, manufacturers and distributors of technology hardware & equipment such as communications equipment, cellular phones, computers & peripherals, electronic equipment and related instruments, and semiconductors.
- Communication Services Sector: It includes companies that facilitate communication and offer related content and information through various mediums. It includes telecom and media & entertainment companies including producers of interactive gaming products and companies engaged in content and information creation or distribution through proprietary platforms.
- Utilities Sector: Contains utility companies such as electric, gas and water utilities. It also includes independent power producers & energy traders and companies that engage in generation and distribution of electricity using renewable sources.
- Real Estate Sector: It contains companies engaged in real estate development and operation. It also includes companies offering real estate related services and Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
GICS in practice
In reality, when you start to invest, GICs is a reference you won’t have to hold too dear to. In fact, most brokers & sites offer the 11 sectors as a share of the total instrument for diversification purposes. But the industry type & industry are not very often used and/or highlighted.
This is due to the bulk of investors choosing the same instruments at the end of the day. Very common is to hold a US/World ETF & either dividend or growth stocks.
When you consider more socially responsible investing and/or for example clean energy ETFs, only then do the subsegments become very important for your investment decisions.