When you peruse the charts, you see bull market after bull market, almost too many to count.
But why not give you the top 10, the top 10 as suggested by the charts, which can't lie because the cohorts are chockablock with 52-week-highs.
Let's start with the obvious one. Bull market number one, perhaps of all time: the financials. Sure, we know the banks, and it's Bank of America (BAC) and JP Morgan (JPM) as leaders, with many regionals -- banks like PNC Financial Services (PNC) and KeyCorp (KEY) and BB&T (BBT) and First Horizon (FHN) -- just inching ever higher after their dramatic run post-election.
Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) have two stocks that are and have been so strong that try as I have wanted to add these stocks to the bullpen of what we are contemplating for buys for the charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS, I just can't. They've run and run and run, and you can't help but feel you have missed the move. Then again, if the bull market is early -- something hard to believe frankly, but this market does have a lot of charm -- then we would decisively be paying too little for these leaders of the pack.
Best of all are the most unheralded, simply because they are so boring and homogenous: the insurers like Travelers (TRV) , Chubb (CB) , Allstate (ALL) and Prudential (PRU) . You can understand why AIG CEO Peter Hancock could be feeling the heat from his board. AIG's the only insurer whose chart's a bad one.
Next bull: The multinationals. You can see the endless re-rating of 3M (MMM) , Honeywell (HON) , United Technologies (UTX) , Parker Hannifin (PH) , Paccar (PCAR) , Eaton (ETN) , Cummins (CMI) almost in a straight line. These companies are looking like worldwide GNP growth plays, because they all benefit from Asia and Europe disproportionately. I am paying particularly close attention to the growth in Class 8 Trucks, they've been strong for four months and produce a huge amount of jobs and profits. Many of the stocks in this group have exposure to that market.
Third bull? The unleashing of health care. Every single portion of this sector is raging: health insurers like Humana (HUM) and UnitedHealth (UNH) and Anthem (ANTM) , medical device companies like Becton (BDX) and Bard (BCR) and Hologic (HOLX) and Stryker (SYK) , or the remarkable HCA (HCA) and the redoubtable Abbott (ABT) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , Merck (MRK) , Pfizer (PFE) and perhaps most grandiose, Eli Lilly (LLY) . I don't think I can recall a group that has moved up week after week like this one. It's screaming to get on board. The real standout? An old growth diva, Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) , which is acting like it just started its run.
Then there's aerospace and defense. This fourth bull market is led by Boeing (BA) , but is buoyed by Raytheon (RTN) , General Dynamics (GD) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) . The strength here is extraordinary and lasting. Anything that resembles a defense stock has a tailwind here.
The fifth bull market? Semiconductor and semiconductor equipment. We had thought that those suppliers to Apple (AAPL) were doomed to roll over. But with Apple hitting new highs, it's raising the roof on Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) , Broadcom (AVGO) , Texas Instruments (TXN) and Qorvo (QRVO) , the latter rallying even as it preannounced to the downside. I know that KLA-Tencor (KLAC) and Lam Research (LRCX) seem like they have had giant runs, but their price-to-earnings multiples are still well below the average stock in the marketplace.
Sixth? Home and home-related. I know it's been disliked since $12, but my favorite homebuilder because of its incredibly good California holdings, KB Home (KBH) , shows no signs of quitting. It's leading Toll (TOL) , Lennar (LEN) , Horton (DHI) and Pulte (PHM) even as this group is supposed to be selling off into a pending rate hike. At least it always has before.
Perhaps because, as the brilliant Home Depot (HD) CFO Carole Tome mentioned on her conference call, a quarter point is $40 more dollars a month -- hardly enough to quell a purchase of a $700,000 Toll Brothers home. I think you can only delay the purchase of a home for so long, and the delays have now been a decade long.
Anything that makes a home more valuable, anything that can be capitalized and not expensed, so to speak, has had downfield running all the way, led by Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) but including Masco (MAS) and Sherwin Williams (SHW) look incredibly strong. But their moves pale in comparison to those leaps of Home Depot and Lowe's (LOW) . You know a theme is powerful when both of those companies put up phenomenal earnings. The tide seems so high, that you almost expect Sears Holdings (SHLD) to participate. My thinking? If it isn't participating now, then it ain't ever going to do so.
Seventh: United Parcel Service (UPS) doesn't represent its group well. I find the freight forwarders and logistics and truckers all doing so well here, with CH Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) , XPO Logistics (XPO) and Expeditors (EXPD) being the standouts. But you could throw darts at this group, and as long as you don't hit UPS, you are in clover.
The eighth bull? The airlines. Maybe Warren Buffett started the party, but this group comes in only for seconds, it seems, and then it is off to the races again for whatever reason, the most recent being the deregulation against fare transparency that President Trump instituted Friday. Southwest (LUV) remains the favorite.
Ninth? Let's call it travel and leisure, and let's include Carnival (CCL) , Royal Caribbean (RCL) , Priceline (PCLN) and Disney (DIS) , although the latter's still well off its high. These are part of the experiential economy, the one where we Snap and Tweet and Instagram our way through joyous times and insist on sharing them with people who are less fortunate at that moment than we are.
Finally, because of the sharp decline at the longer end and a Kraft Heinz (KHC) that is on the prowl, we've got a remarkable run in some of the old bond market equivalent and consumer product companies, like Clorox (CLX) , Kimberly Clark (KMB) , PepsiCo (PEP) and Colgate (CL) . Throw in the non-takeoverable Procter & Gamble (PG) courtesy of pressure from Nelson Peltz, and you have a decent sized group. Oh, and if you really want to stretch the bounds? How about the consumer product company king, Apple, the largest company on earth and one that still sports no more than a 14x multiple?
What's conspicuously absent from the list? How about the oils, which are almost all rolling over save Pioneer PXD. We have been buying them for the trust as a counterplay to the rally. The hallmark of this market has been to buy the out-of-favor and don't get down about it. The rotation is coming. The retailers are so sickly that they redefine pain, as do the supermarkets, with standouts like Fossil (FOSL) , L Brands (LB) , GameStop (GME) , Supervalu (SVU) , Kroger (KR) and Whole Foods (WFM) . Amazon's (AMZN) chart tells you where the money's going.
Finally, there's the higher-yielding stocks that don't seem to be able to back their yields with the goods -- here, I am thinking Frontier (FTR) and Centurylink (CTL) (as currently figured) but also some of the higher yielding real estate investment trusts that are linked to retail, which has become the kiss of death in this market. I don't know if it's worth it to be patient and wait for the next rotational bus to come around. It just might take too long, and it could be from a much lower level to bounce you out of there.
Yep, 10 powerful bull markets with no sign of flagging, and that's just the most visible ones. There are plenty of minis and one-offs in this tape. Let these serve as a reminder for when we have our next down days. These are the places you want to be.