A Wall St. sign is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the financial district in New York City, U.S., March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Energy stocks are becoming a popular bellwether for concerns over how deeply the Delta variant of the coronavirus is expected to impact the U.S. economy, as the so-called reopening trade that boosted some parts of the market earlier this year continues to stumble.

The S&P 500 energy sector is (.SPNY) down 12.3% for the quarter-to-date compared with a 3.7% gain for the S&P 500 (.SPX), which stands near record highs. That contrasts with the sector’s performance in the first quarter of the year, when it zoomed 29.3% on expectations that a vaccine-fueled economic rebound will boost energy demand.

The decline, which has outstripped a 2% fall in the price of Brent crude, suggests some investors believe the U.S. economic recovery may have peaked in the face…

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