Two Underdog Sectors Lift the Market

 | Jan 22, 2013 | 12:13 PM EST
  • Comment
  • Print Print
  • Print
Stock quotes in this article:












We're getting these bizarre shockers in this market, segments that no one thought would do much, and instead they are dragging the market up with them.

Take the media stocks. These were supposed to be total dogs. The rates didn't seem to be going up, the ratings have been going down relative to years past, and the market was supposed to be disappointed with the progression of the quarters.

While we haven't seen any numbers yet, we have already been pleasantly surprised by some action by CBS (CBS) to unlock value with its billboard division. Plus the Super Bowl is sold out at $3.75 million per 30-second spot. And I bet, given the potential for a Harbaugh brothers hype match between two new and different teams in the bowl, they will get their money's worth. We know that Discovery Communications (DISCA) is coming on strong in its programming, and what a remarkable story that is, aided by Oprah's strong showing, courtesy liar Lance Armstrong.

So it can't be a surprise that today Goldman Sachs takes up the whole group and anoints Viacom (VIA) as its favorite, the one that had been the most challenged when it comes to ratings. I still believe that News Corp. (NWSA) is the cheapest, and I love the split-up. (We own it for Action Alerts PLUS.)

The other group that keeps powering higher? Insurance. Now, I have been saying forever that perhaps one of the steadiest hands in any business is Jay Fishman, the CEO of Travelers (TRV), who had the foresight to dodge subprime entirely and instead bought high-quality municipals with the premiums his company took in. Now that we have seen storms that have taken out capacity and allowed the company to raise premiums, the story just gets better and better. Travelers, a Dow stock, has quietly become a core position for many a mutual fund. I still believe that American International Group (AIG) represents a better value, but the run here is amazing.

What I like about these two groups is that they are rarely leaders, but they are key tells to the economy. Insurance is a mighty portion of the financial complex and can bring it up. Media advertising is a very important, very sensitive gauge of corporate spending -- it plummeted hard during the Great Recession -- and these numbers show tremendous strength.

Two unheralded areas. Two great performers. 

Columnist Conversations

there is some very heavy selling today and poor price action in Facebook today.  in the first hour the st...
Stock has been roasted last five trading sessions. Time to rotate into Ford ahead of big CEO long-term plan re...
Equity futures were up slightly just before 9:30 PM Sunday night.



News Breaks

Powered by


Except as otherwise indicated, quotes are delayed. Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes for all exchanges. Market Data provided by Interactive Data. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings and ratings provided by Zacks. Mutual fund data provided by Valueline. ETF data provided by Lipper. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions.

TheStreet Ratings updates stock ratings daily. However, if no rating change occurs, the data on this page does not update. The data does update after 90 days if no rating change occurs within that time period.

IDC calculates the Market Cap for the basic symbol to include common shares only. Year-to-date mutual fund returns are calculated on a monthly basis by Value Line and posted mid-month.