We've looked today at why "stay-at-home stocks," insurance names on other sectors seem promising right now. Let's wrap up by checking out some more market areas, from retailers to medical-device makers.
First, there are so many promising medical-device and diagnostic companies (as well as companies with tools to develop drugs) that it's tempting just to buy any that aren't on the list -- like Medtronic (MDT) -- and bet that it's just a matter of time before they are.
Illumina (ILMN) and Thermo Fisher (TMO) stand out as classic tool examples. Technical analyst Bruce Kamich of Real Money, our premium site for active traders, analyzed TMO's daily chart and found that the stock is flashing a bullish "golden cross" pattern:
Kamich also noted that the stock's On-Balance-Volume line (OBV) "is bullish by rising with the price action and recently moving up to set a new high and, we hope, signaling new price highs." (Click here for a free Real Money 14-day trial to read his full take.)
Meanwhile, Abbott Labs (ABT) , Boston Scientific (BSX) and Baxter (BAX) are prototypical devices makers. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) has for years been a standout, but it's only recently that Hologic (HOLX) has been strong. Stryker's (SYK) a new one after stumbling. Quest Diagnostics (DGX) seems to have gotten its footing when it became clear that Theranos wasn't a real threat.
One look at the outsized strength of the stocks of Aetna (AET) , Anthem (ANTM) , Cigna (CI) , Humana (HUM) and UnitedHealth (UNH) tells you who the winners are in the repeal-and-replace movement, like we thought it could ever be anything else. One of my favorites, Centene (CNC) , seems to be winning, too, even as it was the one that had figured out how to make money in the health-care exchange system. I have to believe all of these companies will benefit from not being under the watchful eye of the government.
Elsewhere, you would think the home story would eventually run out of steam, but the lower rates swept it right back up. Remember, it isn't the home builders per se, but the accoutrements and providers, basically everything you can get at a Lowes (LOW) or a Home Depot (HD) -- Sherwin Williams (SHW) and PPG (PPG) for paint, Masco (MAS) and Fortune Brands Home and Security (FBHS) for kitchen and bath, Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) for tools (what a monster), Mohawk (MHK) for carpets and Briggs & Stratton (BGG) for lawn mowers and power washers.
Sometimes I wonder if a combination of Trump's travel ban and a fear of Airbnb had brought the travel, leisure and hotel market to its knees. Now that fear has vanished, so Priceline (PCLN) and Expedia (EXPE) shine, while Wyndham (WYN) , Marriott (MAR) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide (VAC) (although it suffered a tough Friday) and are amazingly strong. And every cruise line -- Carnival (CCL) , Norwegian (NCLH) , Royal Caribbean (RCL) -- just seems to know no limits.
Interesting that the airlines aren't there, but they have too much capacity and the others obviously have too little or no competition. The casinos are all flying again. MGM Resorts (MGM) had missed because of some surprising upfront costs for National Harbor, its D.C. casino, but those are behind it. Wynn (WYNN) and now even Las Vegas Sands (LVS) are doing much better.
There are some contained bull markets like video games, notably Activision Blizzard (ATVI) , Electronic Arts (EA) and Take Two Interactive (TTWO) . Again, it doesn't seem like there's any price that's too high for these to go.
You can't stop the three cellphone towers: American Tower (AMT) , Crown Castle (CCI) and SBA Communications (SBAC) . You can only imagine how much more tower space you need with these unlimited packages. If you don't, T-Mobile's (TMUS) John Legere will shame you into it.
The semiconductor boom-and-bust cycle is in boom mode, which is excellent news for Applied Materials (AMAT) , Teradyne (TER) , KLA-Tencor (KLAC) and Lam Research (LRCX) . I think these stocks must be heavily shorted as people wait for the bust portion of the cycle to take hold. Talk about sucker's bet.
There are some real estate investment trusts that are strong, including apartment REITs, but the stars are Digital Realty (DLR) , which is last-mile warehousing for e-commerce and CoreSite (COR) and Equinix (EQIX) , the data farm warehouses. The big cloud companies need these farms so badly, they can't only build their own.
Cloud's still rolling, and if you can insinuate yourself into the cloud, you are now getting special status. Pure plays RedHat (RHT) , Salesforce (CRM) and Adobe (ADBE) share the platform with Oracle (ORCL) and Microsoft (MSFT) .
The endless love for anything payment processing seems patently absurd to me, but they all have growth: Mastercard (MA) , Visa (V) and Paypal (PYPL) are all obvious. But how about Square (SQ) , Global Payments (GPN) , Equifax (EFX) , Alliance Data (ADS) and Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) ? These all look like pseudo-banks to me.
We expect a great deal from Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 8 and we are already getting good numbers from the Samsung 8 and it's reflected in the strength of both parents, but also the offspring Universal Display (OLED) , Corning (GLW) , Broadcom (AVGO) , Western Digital (WDC) and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) .
I know some analysts are trying to call the top in defense stocks, but I think that's an inaccurate read-through because that presumes only the United States is ordering. But other countries need to defend themselves, chiefly from Iran, and you see Lockheed Martin (LMT) , Northrop Grumman (NOC) , Raytheon (RTN) and Leidos (LDOS) having powerful moves.
Bruce Kamich analyzed Leidos and found that the stock's daily chart hit a "golden cross" in December:
Meanwhile, little Kratos (KTOS) , one of my faves, just reported a fantastic quarter and leapt forward, thank heavens.
I struggle to figure out where to put Costco (COST) and Walmart (WMT) -- perhaps just under bargains? That makes sense; after all, Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI) is the strongest in the entire group. I have to believer that Dollar Tree (DLTR) can advance here on the coattails of the thesis.
Oh, and FANG -- Action Alerts PLUS holding Facebook (FB) , Trifecta Stocks name Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL) -- and Tesla (TSLA) always figure in. You don't need me to tell you about those, now, do you?
Just as notable as these bulls are the groups that can't seem to muster real togetherness strength here: banks, packaged foods, restaurants (save Darden (DRI) ), drug stocks except for a couple of biotechs, notably Vertex (VRTX) and BioMarin (BMRN) , and finally anything oil, with the offshore names actually, in some cases, taking out their fabled 2016 lows. Non-bargain retail's being eviscerated by Amazon. They report this week -- maybe there can be an oversold pop.
It's a wonder to me how split this market really is. It's a polar extreme market, with the companies that need the best growth and those that need the most anemic to do well.
Amazingly, the areas where the bull is not to be found include some of the biggest sectors of the entire market. No wonder it's so hard to outperform!
(Editor's pick. This column originally appeared at 4:30 p.m. ET on May 8 on TheStreet. A longer version also appeared at 6:27 a.m. ET on May 8 on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Jim Cramer and other writers even earlier in the trading day.)
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