I often hear that you can't beat the market so just be average, don't even bother. Then I look at days like today and ask myself why settle for average when there are so many ways to win with so many good stocks that can make a ton of money on a daily basis.
Let's take a snapshot of today at noon. You might be watching Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, give a good account of the need to stay the course, which has helped this market mightily.
Me? My mind wanders to the tape: what's going higher, what are the commonalities, can they be spotted, can they be acted upon? So, these are today's noon-hour winners, and I say they are all pretty darn accessible.
The biggest winner is Mylan (MYL). What do we know about Mylan? We know it makes generic drugs, and that there's been a ton of takeover activity in the area. We know that Mylan can make plenty of drugs cheaper than the big dogs when patents expire. We know there are a couple of big companies, including Valeant Pharma (VRX) and Teva (TEVA), that need to grow and do an acquisition in the space, and from the tone of the conference call after Mylan's excellent earnings, it seems to make a ton of sense. Mylan? I'm saying it could have been found, and many of you already had.
Next? First Solar (FSLR). The other day this company, which is in the sweet spot of renewable energy, was walloped when it reported a quarter that showed it didn't produce all the megawatts it was supposed to. Down 10%. We told you to buy the weakness because we know from the last time First Solar was on the Mad Money that you have to own this stock ahead of the analyst meeting, which happened a few weeks ago. Sure enough, an analyst comes out and says the same thing today and the stock roars higher. Own it.
Third at that moment? Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF). This iron-ore company is battling activist investors who want to bring out value. While the stock didn't rally all day, I think the rules are clear: When an activist comes knocking, the odds favor the shareholders as boards now listen. Plus Cliffs announced an extended supply pact with steel giant ArcelorMittal (MT) -- all good, accessible news. And the Baltic Dry Index, which I tell you in Get Rich Carefully is an important gauge of China growth, has bottomed and gone up in the last few weeks, and that is good news for the miners.
Best Buy (BBY) was the fourth-biggest gainer. Hard to figure? What did we hear from Home Depot (HD), Macy's (M) and Lowe's (LOW) in the last three days? How about spending on the home is back and strong and worth betting on. Talk about a tell to buy this one, the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 so far this year. Earlier, I described how this stock could still go higher, but the point was BBY was accessible after you listened to the other guys' quarters.
Sometimes when things are obvious, it's downright annoying. The last couple of days we've been buzzing that the retailers can bounce, all of them. We heard from Macy's that everything from apparel to housewares have been strong. So what was so hard about buying Kohl's (KSS)? It's a heck of a lot better story than most of the other retailers that rallied before it. It could be gained, and a bunch of brokers today upgraded it because of a turn in fundamentals.
How about Sempra Energy (SRE) roaring ahead, the sixth-best performer in the S&P 500 at noon? How often have we flogged these natural-gas pipeline and storage stocks? A good conservative company and a good quarter. A shocker? I don't think so.
Seventh is eBay (EBAY). What can I say? We have been hot on this ever since Carl Icahn got involved, saying that there could be lots of value unlocked if you can just separate the online marketplace company from PayPal, the online credit-card company. Icahn has been making a ton of noise lately about board conflicts. Frankly, these don't interest us. What we care about is these corporate divorces have made a ton of money for us. Think about what WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) was able to do when it separated from ho¿hum Dean Foods (DF). A focused natural and organic food company on a standalone basis has created an immense amount of value. I think Icahn is right: eBay should split up. We know that Icahn knows value. We know that split-ups work. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Carl!
Eighth is Verizon (VZ). Wasn't it just a matter of time? Now that this terrific deal closed that allows Verizon to buy the rest of Verizon Wireless, the company has created a faster-growing telecommunications company with a solid, safe 4.5% dividend yield in a yield-starved world. All the brokers are piling in and praising it today. I know that I expressed frustration with it this morning because I like the deal so much. Typical of the way the stock market works: Just when things get frustrating, it gets interesting. Verizon could be a core stock for any portfolio. It remains the stock I shout back at people when they shout at me, "Jim, Booyah, what should I buy?" Why? Because if I see that person again on the street, I know I won't be attacked by a rabid, disappointed dog.
Salesforce.com (CRM) comes in ninth. We are going to hear from Mark Benioff, the CEO and creator of Salesforce.com, later tonight on Mad Money. His company is at the vortex of the holy trinity of the cloud, mobile and social, with some connectivity thrown in. If you buy Get Rich Carefully (which I am signing, by the way, after the show at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J.), you know that Salesforce.com is the single-most recommended stock in the book, and Mark Benioff is one of the 21 bankable CEOs that I outline. Why was it up at noon, though? Simple: It's a partner with Workday (WDAY), which you will also hear from tonight on Mad Money. The company shot out the lights when it reported, plus booked 70% growth. (Remember that Workday is one of my 15 "Mad Money Momentum Monsters" giving portfolio managers the growth they crave.)
Finally, there's Whirlpool (WHR). How many retailers do you need to hear from to know that this one's a buy? Home Depot and Lowe's told you how strong appliances are. WHR is not done going higher as the home growth theme is, again, a tailwind, particularly with mortgages rates on retreat
Here's where I come out: You take a snapshot of this market intraday, look at the big gainers and you have to say that it's accessible, getable, able to be nailed by you, by me and by all of us.