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TheStreet Open House

Unsupportable Fervor Requires an ETF Wish List

Stocks in this article: OEF HDV EEMV SDIV IWS DON EWH

NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- "I've never seen this in 34 years of investing," quipped TheStreet's Jim Cramer earlier this week.

What was Cramer referring to? For the most part, he expressed excitement over the stock market's ability to reward stocks of companies that missed earnings expectations as well as to reward those that beat expectations by not taking profits.

In other words, regardless of what a corporation has already achieved or anticipates achieving going forward, investors are buying indiscriminately.

Need proof that everything is a winner? Take a look at a three-year chart involving the S&P 100.

In bullish rallies, one expects the majority of stocks in a major index like the S&P 100 to gain ground in an uptrend. The percentage of S&P 100 stocks that climb above and stay above a long-term 200-day trendline might be 70%, 80%, maybe even 90%.

Eventually, uptrends break down. In the first four months of April 2011, the percentage of S&P 100 stocks that remained above a 200-day average hovered around 90%. Then the levy broke and the iShares S&P 100 Index Fund (OEF) forfeited 18% from the highs to the lows. In 2012, 90% of S&P 100 stocks remained above a 200-day trendline as well. When the "sell-in-May" crowd exerted their influence, OEF had logged 8% in losses in roughly 6 weeks.

Historically, when 90% of stocks are above key long-term trendlines, one is typically looking at overbought conditions. Yet, those conditions can persist for many months. Here in 2013, however, I am witnessing oddities that I have not personally witnessed during my 23 years of experience.

Not only have we been hovering around the 90% level for most of 2013, but in the last few weeks the percentage has climbed even higher. We're now looking at 96% of stocks in long-term uptrends.

This "96%" goes a long way toward describing Cramer's anecdotal observations. Specifically, investors are neither punishing the poor performers nor "cashing in" on the good performers.

Where I differ with Cramer and a number of uber-bullish commentators, is the idea that the current market conditions should be embraced. "Buy, buy, buy!" To that I would answer, "Why, why, why?"

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