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Largely ignored during much of last year's 30 percent rally in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, the stocks leading the U.S. market this year rank among its usually sleepiest components.This year, those stocks are lagging the more boring "low beta" stocks – those that tend to move less dramatically than the market.This year, the 50 stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest beta scores – a group that includes ConEd and McDonald's – are up on average by 12 percent. Meanwhile, the 50 highest beta stocks, which include Citigroup and Best Buy, are up an average of 7 percent.In 2013, the 50 highest-beta S&P 500 stocks rose an average of 51.4 percent, compared with 21.3 percent for the 50 lowest-beta stocks.Stocks with the lowest betas have an average dividend yield of 3.1 percent compared with 1.7 percent for high-beta stocks, Thomson Reuters data shows.The high beta stocks now have a median P/E of 15.2 versus a median P/E of 16.4 for all of the S&P 500 stocks with beta scores.
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