Who's mixed? Who is trying to bottom? There are stocks in individual cohorts that are making a stand, I just don't know if the stand can be maintained.
For example, Celgene (CELG - Get Report) , Biogen (BIIB - Get Report) , Regeneron (REGN - Get Report) and Gilead (GILD - Get Report) are all trying to stop going down. That's not much of an endorsement, but the rest of the sector is in such bear-market mode that perhaps the nascent rallies in these can be the beginning of something bigger?
Same thing with oil service companies like Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) , Schlumberger (SLB - Get Report) , Weatherford (WFT - Get Report) and Transocean (RIG - Get Report) . These are least likely to succeed names, as well as EOG (EOG - Get Report) and Occidental (OXY - Get Report) , two well-capitalized oils. These are in the exact same boat at biotech. These stocks have been through the mill and are still standing. But I don't know if they can have any staying power given that the vast majority of oils, especially the master limited partnerships and natural gas stocks seem to be in the grips of the bear in a major way. Maybe these are just the ones that portfolio managers hang on to in order to have some exposure to the sector? Seems like a reasonable assumption.
We have plenty of semiconductor-related plays that are trying to stabilize, from Qorvo (QRVO - Get Report) and Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) to Lam (LRCX - Get Report) and Microchip (MCHP - Get Report) and Avnet (AVT - Get Report) and Avago (AVGO - Get Report) . I think they can be led into the bull promised land by the likes of Intel (INTC - Get Report) , but I don't want to get too excited as I would rather just own Intel. Lam does stand out as a potential winner.
You know what looks to be turning? Entertainment post media-geddon when Disney (DIS - Get Report) dropped the bomb about cable. I can see Time Warner (TWX , CBS (CBS - Get Report) , Fox (FOX , Dish (DISH - Get Report) , as well as Disney, stabilizing and working their way up.
Two that are about to come back to the high list: Snap-on (SNP - Get Report) and Kroger (KR - Get Report) are worth mentioning. I don't know if Wynn (WYNN - Get Report) can turn, but Las Vegas Sands (LVS - Get Report) is turning right in front of us, although I don't like to pick out one stock in a group that is faltering and tell you to buy it.
Abbott (ABT - Get Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) and Bristol-Myers (BMY - Get Report) all look like candidates for stabilization, but there's no need to rush. Better to have more info.
And then there's what's bad and what's bad is really bad.
I think retail's just disastrous and we can't be sure where and when the bear is going to maul next. September was just plain bad, although only Skechers (SKX - Get Report) was kind enough to admit it. Many seem to think that the issue is Amazon, but that's just not possible as there's been no new step function in Amazon to justify destroying so many retailers. Others think it is payroll issues and the flailing of Walmart (WMT - Get Report) . OK, I get that. Whatever, there is inventory sloshing around everywhere and Kohls (KSS - Get Report) , Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) and Macy's (M - Get Report) seem particularly roiled, although you have to wonder how much more they can drop. I think that Target (TGT - Get Report) holds the key and I don't know if it is strong enough to withstand the Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH - Get Report) blasting.
Dick's (DKS - Get Report) , Urban (URBN - Get Report) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM - Get Report) are worth particular wariness. Ralph Lauren (RL - Get Report) , VF (VFC , PVH (PVH - Get Report) , Kors (KORS , Hanes (HBI - Get Report) and Fossil (FOSL - Get Report) seem to have still more downside. I think that investors believe that Walmart is just going to obliterate the dollar stores.
Gap (GPS - Get Report) ? Wow, it won't stop. Only L Brands (LB - Get Report) seems immune, with Restoration Hardware (RH - Get Report) not far behind. I am even concerned about Ulta (ULTA - Get Report) . That's how bad the opprobrium is for this group. Can I throw in Tiffany (TIF - Get Report) , Polaris (PII - Get Report) and Harley (HOG - Get Report) for high end discretionary pain? Restaurants, save McDonald's, all seem hideous even as raw costs are coming down. That's labor costs speaking, if you ask me.
The healthcare bear is romping. The hospitals seem like they are just beginning to roll over, which his extraordinary given how much they have fallen already. Every single junior biotech has no support. The roll-ups, from Valeant (VRX to Mallinckrodt (MNK - Get Report) to even my beloved Allergan (AGN - Get Report) isn't done going down. McKesson (MCK - Get Report) and Amerisource (ABC - Get Report) , two of the most-loved stocks for a decade seem like out-and-out shorts, but they report this week so let's see what can happen.
You can't get near health care yet. Even stocks like United Health UNH that are winners if the hospitals are losers. I know that there are those who want to stick with this group no matter what. For example, I am partial to Lilly (LLY - Get Report) and Allergan here. But I am not going to fool myself. The political headwinds and the blow-ups are too much to handle for the vast majority of you out there.
Oil and gas? No bottom to speak of.
I want to hear what Chevron (CVX - Get Report) has to say this week. Same with Occidental (OXY - Get Report) with a much better chart. The oils are all bad, but the natural gas stocks are even worse. We have such a glut of the stuff that I can't tell you if there is even a chance for some of these companies to survive. A recent find by EQT (EQT - Get Report) in Pennsylvania's deep dry Utica shale may be the biggest in United States history and it is radically low in cost. It will make all natural gas outside of the Utica too expensive and with national pipelines coming -- total disasters there even as I like them -- I see years and years of pain in the sector. All natural gas companies seem like outrageous shorts to me.
Finally there are the China-related plays, like Joy (JOY or Terex (TEX - Get Report) or Cummins (CMI - Get Report) or U.S. Steel (X - Get Report) , companies that have either bet the farm on China's re-accelerating industrial economy or are being dumped on by China. No respite for the weary in Timken (TKR - Get Report) or Manitowoc (MTW - Get Report) to name two poster boys.
There are still plenty of outliers that I can't game. Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) Tuesday's business and the chart says it could go either way. Same with Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) for that matter. I don't know if IBM (IBM - Get Report) is really stabilizing. Maybe it doesn't even matter. The cybersecurity space is hot as a pistol, but the stocks are cold as ice. And then there are some big-caps that just plain scare me: American Express (AXP - Get Report) being the boldest of examples.
But the battlegrounds are stark. We know that groups can snap back (the international industrials post-General Electric being emblematic). We know that the rolling bear does let up as it did for so many technology plays. We know that when the bears hit bottom though there I no immediate snap-back. There's time. No need to be a hero. Almost all of the heroes are dead already.