Third quarter report card: Financial stocks were hot, telecoms so not

The third quarter is now in the books and here's what we've learned about U.S. equities over the last three months: Riskier stocks are still hot, defensive names are not, and the so-called reflation trade is alive and well.

Oh, and September isn't always the cruelest month for equities.

The broad market, as measured by the S&P 500, produced a net total return (which includes reinvested dividends minus withholding tax) of nearly 16 percent for the quarter as of Tuesday's close, according to Standard & Poor's. (Returns don't include the last day of trading this quarter, but even without Wednesday's action the figures are essentially the same.)