There's a war on. A war about whether oil going down is good or bad. And all I can say is at least someone's saying it might be good because so far we're only accepting the negatives. You can't tell from the current screen, but the pro-lower-oil faction was responsible for whatever rally we did have and it is a welcome sign.
Let's set the stage. Right now, without any empirical evidence, without any brief or any rationality and certainly no logic or proportion -- in a nod to the late Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner -- the stock market's collective wisdom is lower gasoline prices have done nothing for anyone.
All we hear about is the pain. All we see is a hideous decline in oil stocks when crude goes down and nothing gains.
Today has been different. The leaders are the stocks of companies that benefit directly from lower oil prices: namely airlines, some retailers and some restaurants. Take Spirit Airlines (SAVE). This stock's been a total dog for a very long time and even changed CEOs for whatever reason, although rarely a good one. But there is no doubt that it benefits from lower fuel prices. Same with United (UAL) and American (AAL). These are relatively very strong stocks today. Same with Southwest (LUV), JetBlue (JBLU) and Delta (DAL).
Priceline's (PCLN) stock has been so difficult to own. It is totally levered to people going from one place to another. Today's it's actually up.
Plus, you see good movement by Jack-in-the-Box (JACK), Panera (PNRA), Starbucks (SBUX) and McDonald's (MCD). And in retail? We have VF Corp. (VFC) doing better as well as Ross Stores (ROST) and Wal-Mart (WMT). Same with Kroger (KR). (Jack-in-the-Box, Panera and Starbucks are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)
Is it a new pattern? I would say this is the first time we have seen it. Maybe it's a start. Of course, the futures sellers washed over the buyers when oil dropped more than $2. That's just too big for the market to handle.
Nevertheless, we are getting signs that the market is recognizing that it is supply, not demand.
It's a big deal if it continues because if you only have negatives and no positives for something this important, it tends to confuse, and confusion in this market means only one thing: sell.