A Surprising Leaderboard

 | Feb 14, 2014 | 1:55 PM EST  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

pg

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clx

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kmb

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lmt

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clf

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tkr

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oxy

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z

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trla

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goog

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FB

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biib

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gild

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regn

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celg

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csco

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cien

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eric

How is it possible that this market can be led by retail, oil, defense, industrials, and consumer packaged goods, including ones that have been disappointing?

How can Procter & Gamble (PG) be above where it pre-announced? How can Clorox rally so hard on that total lack of organic growth? Amazing, isn't it? Could P&G be on the verge of some sort of real restructuring after that hideous earnings slash? How many times have people tried to short Clorox (CLX)? How many times can it be downgraded? Finally, Kimberly-Clark (KMB) is coming back to where it spiked when it announced its health-care spinoff. What a terrific stock.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) remains the leader in the defense group, and why not -- half its business is now with foreign governments, so the sequester may have gotten traders short, but the orders have turned it into a long.

The self-help continues in the industrials. Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) put up much better-than-expected numbers after being challenged by activists. Timken (TKR) slipped in a dividend boost on top of the Jefferies push about the split. The long-awaited breakup of Occidental (OXY) is upon us and, as I write in Get Rich Carefully, you get multiple moves up in these "shrink to grow" situations. I believe that the holdings of "California Oxy" will be bigger than the Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford or Bakken shales.

You can barely keep up with the crosscurrents. Earlier, we were led by the biotechs and the Internets. Now we have big reversals in both, and the Zillow (Z)-Trulia (TRLA) battle has turned the whole group into a battleground. A reversal in Google (GOOG)? Facebook (FB) down for a few minutes? Egad! Biogen Idec (BIIB) is still up, but the market has turned against Gilead (GILD), Regeneron (REGN) and Celgene (CELG).

Oh, and how about the continued shake-off of the Cisco (CSCO) shortfall, with Ciena (CIEN) roaring today off of a tie-in with Ericsson (ERIC)? Cisco just missed the easy-money, low-hanging fruit of the whole telco segment and is in every tough niche. Oh well.

Columnist Conversations

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