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 - Get Report) -- and bet that it's just a matter of time before they are.
Illumina (ILMN - Get Report) and Thermo Fisher (TMO - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) , Boston Scientific (BSX - Get Report) and Baxter (BAX - Get Report) are prototypical devices makers. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG - Get Report) has for years been a standout, but it's only recently that Hologic (HOLX - Get Report) has been strong. Stryker's (SYK - Get Report) a new one after stumbling. Quest Diagnostics (DGX - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) , Cigna (CI - Get Report) , Humana (HUM - Get Report) and UnitedHealth (UNH - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) , 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 - Get Report) or a Home Depot (HD - Get Report) -- Sherwin Williams (SHW - Get Report) and PPG (PPG - Get Report) for paint, Masco (MAS - Get Report) and Fortune Brands Home and Security (FBHS - Get Report) for kitchen and bath, Stanley Black & Decker (SWK - Get Report) for tools (what a monster), Mohawk (MHK - Get Report) for carpets and Briggs & Stratton (BGG - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) shine, while Wyndham (WYN) , Marriott (MAR - Get Report) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide (VAC - Get Report) (although it suffered a tough Friday) and are amazingly strong. And every cruise line -- Carnival (CCL - Get Report) , Norwegian (NCLH - Get Report) , Royal Caribbean (RCL - Get Report) -- 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 - Get Report) had missed because of some surprising upfront costs for National Harbor, its D.C. casino, but those are behind it. Wynn (WYNN - Get Report) and now even Las Vegas Sands (LVS - Get Report) are doing much better.
There are some contained bull markets like video games, notably Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Get Report) , Electronic Arts (EA - Get Report) and Take Two Interactive (TTWO - Get Report) . 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 - Get Report) , Crown Castle (CCI - Get Report) and SBA Communications (SBAC - Get Report) . You can only imagine how much more tower space you need with these unlimited packages. If you don't, T-Mobile's (TMUS - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) , Teradyne (TER - Get Report) , KLA-Tencor (KLAC - Get Report) and Lam Research (LRCX - Get Report) . 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 - Get Report) , which is last-mile warehousing for e-commerce and CoreSite (COR - Get Report) and Equinix (EQIX - Get Report) , 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 - Get Report) and Adobe (ADBE - Get Report) share the platform with Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) .
The endless love for anything payment processing seems patently absurd to me, but they all have growth: Mastercard (MA - Get Report) , Visa (V - Get Report) and Paypal (PYPL - Get Report) are all obvious. But how about Square (SQ - Get Report) , Global Payments (GPN - Get Report) , Equifax (EFX - Get Report) , Alliance Data (ADS - Get Report) and Fidelity National Information Services (FIS - Get Report) ? These all look like pseudo-banks to me.
We expect a great deal from Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) , Corning (GLW - Get Report) , Broadcom (AVGO - Get Report) , Western Digital (WDC - Get Report) and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS - Get Report) .
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 - Get Report) , Northrop Grumman (NOC) , Raytheon (RTN - Get Report) and Leidos (LDOS - Get Report) having powerful moves.
Bruce Kamich analyzed Leidos and found that the stock's daily chart hit a "golden cross" in December:
We know that health and beauty is in bull mode; there just aren't enough of them. Estee Lauder (EL - Get Report) and Ulta Beauty (ULTA - Get Report) will work as part of the Look Your Selfie Best era.
I struggle to figure out where to put Costco (COST) and Walmart (WMT - Get Report) -- perhaps just under bargains? That makes sense; after all, Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI - Get Report) is the strongest in the entire group. I have to believer that Dollar Tree (DLTR - Get Report) can advance here on the coattails of the thesis.
Oh, and FANG -- Action Alerts PLUS holding Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Trifecta Stocks name Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) -- and Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) ), drug stocks except for a couple of biotechs, notably Vertex (VRTX - Get Report) and BioMarin (BMRN - Get Report) , 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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