NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Dow Transportation Average (9198) remains the leader among the four major equity averages with a year-to-date gain of 24%, as the price of a barrel of crude oil traded as low as $65.69 on Friday, down 33% year to date. Transports set an all-time intraday high at 9319 on Friday.
In second place is the Nasdaq (4791) up 15% year to date setting a multiyear intraday high at 4810 on Friday, which is only 6.3% below the all-time bubble peak of 5132 set in March 2000.
Must Read: 7 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling in 2014
In third place is the S&P 500 (2067.6) up 12% year to date setting an all-time intraday high at 2075.7 on Friday.
The Dow Industrial Average (17828) is the laggard up 7.6% year to date after setting an all-time intraday high at 17894 on Nov. 21. The three stocks that have been a drag are, International Business Machines (IBM) , Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) with year-to-date declines 14%, 13% and 11%, respectively.
The Santa Claus rally is a play on overbought technical momentum on weekly charts. The bumpy ride is influenced by key technical levels for December. The key technical level to hold is 17737 Dow industrials with technical barriers at 2089.3 on the S&P 500 and 8343 Dow transports. In-between is a key level at 4784 on the Nasdaq.
Safer investments such as Dow utilities and Treasuries have rewarded investors with gains of 21% and 20% year to date, respectively.
Trading and investing momentum in exchange-traded funds requires exit strategies. Have price targets and enter a "good 'til canceled" limit orders to book profits on strength to those levels. Also have an exit strategy following the key weekly moving averages and enter sell-stops to lock in gains if the ETFs fall below these averages.
Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks