Citi analysts have just released their 2012 report card for stocks, and value stocks outperformed the growth of all the other market caps. They said the S&P 500 (S&P Indices:.INX)’s year-to-date gain was 13.4 percent, which was within 1 percent of their forecast. They expected that earning issues in the first half of 2012 would scale back gains in the market before rallying mid-year.

S&P 500 Has Strong Returns In 2012, Only One Sector Was Negative

Equities increased 12 percent in the first quarter of 2012, but then they declined 3 percent in the second quarter because of the credit crisis in Europe and slower economic growth. The summer markets brought a 16 percent equity rally, which then edged lower during the reporting period for the third quarter.

Analysts at Citi note that the S&P 500 (S&P Indices:.INX) was outperformed by the financials and consumer discretionary sectors the most in 2012, after 2011’s defensive leadership. The financial sector rose 25 percent, while the consumer discretionary goods sector rose 20 percent. Healthcare also rose 14 percent.

The only sector that posted year-to-date declines was utilities, although the energy and consumer staples sectors were two of the biggest underperformers for the year. Citi analysts said utilities performed impressively in the second quarter of 2012, but then lagged in the third quarter to become the worst performer in the fourth quarter of the year.

They said small cap stocks were a better investment rather than large or mid-cap stocks. However value stocks outperformed the growth of all market cap levels. Large caps did lead in the first half of 2012, while small caps were expected to underperform. By the second half of the year, small and mid-sized caps picked up steam and increased 13 and 14 percent.