Well, these stocks haven't moved up of late, so why don't we just circle back to them and, once more into the breach, let's just go start the process all over again.
In a bull market, I mean a real rip-snorter like we have going on, there's always a tendency by some investors and, more important, traders, to check into bull markets that have stalled and start taking them back up on any fresh tinder.
That's what's happening Wednesday with so many left-behind-stocks-of-late that have caught fire once again as traders just can't resist returning to the tried and true if the thesis can still play out.
Today it's the retail cohort. For the last few weeks we've seen the retailers get shelled on theoretical fears of tariffs and a potential weakening consumer because of less affordability of all things purchased.
I say "theoretical" because there has been no real degradation of the group from what we can tell so far. It's all anticipatory, as the want of a market that discounts change ahead of time.
Wednesday morning, though, we got some incredibly positive research about retailing from Davidson, a boutique firm not known for its market-moving potential, but one that really got things going because they were ripe for the buying.
Davidson's thesis? Four parts: The mall is not dead, merchant talent matters more than ever, brand power rules, and product positioning are all working.
Now, notice, these are definitively NOT new concepts. They have been buoying the group for months and months. But with the group taking a faux break because of tariffs, it's time for a new look and it's incredible about how much thirst there is for some warmed over but seemingly fresh ideas.
What do I mean by warmed over? Has there been a more vibrant set of stocks than TJX Companies (TJX) , plus 45% for the year, Burlington Stores (BURL) , plus 33%, and Canada Goose (GOOS) , increasing 96%, the most highlighted of the research? All have been amazing. All have been stalled of late and yet are able to muster still one more move on this simple push. I think the best of the lot at this point is, believe it or not, Canada Goose, simply because even as the company is becoming less and less of a one-season play, we are going into the season where we need warmer apparel, a season that the company is synonymous with, if not dominant. I'd buy it.
Oddly, the thesis has real legs not just because of this research push but also because of last night's Nike (NKE) earning's report. I know when people see a visible stock like Nike down badly today, they decide, wait a second, maybe Nike's trends aren't as strong as we thought. I can't emphasize enough how wrong that conclusion is.
Nike stock has soared this year, up 33%, the best performer in the Dow Jones Average. There had been a whisper developing that the Colin Kaepernick ads, the ones that emphasized the individuality of the "Just do it" campaign, had produced bountiful returns, quite a difference from the story line when the ads first broke. Given that, initially, they had hurt the stock and then they rallied it, there were plenty of traders betting that Mark Parker, the CEO, would talk directly about how sales have picked up because of the Kaepernick commercials. There was no need for Parker to say anything. Sales, in reality, are incredibly strong. He didn't give the traders the grist they wanted, though, and they bolted, creating the impression that there's been some sort of tail-off in sales.
But what mattered for the "let's pile back into this group" narrative is that U.S. customers weren't deterred from buying expensive sneakers, Nike's real stock in trade.
At the same time, this very morning, we got a thoughtful upgrade from Oppenheimer for, of all things, GoPro (GPRO) , saying "it's time to capture the upside" talking about how inventory is low and the stock's ready to power with new products that might strike a chord with the consumer.
Now, let's put it altogether: the tariffs haven't hurt yet, the mall is not dead, the discounters are still doing well as are expensive shoes, coats and gadgets, so let's buy everything from Foot Locker (FL) and Best Buy (BBY) to Canada Goose and PVH (PVH) .
That's right. Nothing new? Circle back to the old. As silly as it sounds, take it from me, an old hedge fund manager, that's exactly how bored traders move sectors and stocks all of the time.