NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks continued where they left off on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 climbing another 0.25% on Thursday, and it's the financial sector that has the CNBC "Fast Money Halftime" traders excited.
"I continue to point to the strength in financials as being the most important thing happening on the equity side right now," said Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. He pointed out that the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) is hitting its highest levels since 2008.
The financial sector has taken the leadership role in the market, added Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. First, energy was the leader, and then health care and technology. Now it's the financials leading the way, and investors shouldn't even think about taking profits yet, he said.
While many investors were looking for regional banks to do well, the big money-center banks have also outperformed, according to Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, citing J.P. Morgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS), all of which are hitting new highs.
The traders also discussed the retail sales results for May, which topped economists' expectations. Pete Najarian cited housing plays, such as Masco (MAS) and Home Depot (HD), as companies that will benefit from consumers updating their homes. Other retail segments, however, continue to struggle, such as a luxury goods.