What I’m Watching in 2018
January 5, 2018
Thursday was another day of records across the board, with the most notable being the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging through the 25,000 level for the first time in history. Not only is this impressive in and of itself, but it also marked the index’s fastest 1,000-point move ever – just 24 trading days!
The percentage gain is obviously smaller at these levels, but this is still a remarkable feat considering the Dow needed more than 87 years to make its first 1,000-point move between February 16, 1885 and November 14, 1972.
The dogs are barking as six of the so-called “Dogs of the Dow” have outperformed so far in 2018, led by General Electric (GE) with a gain of 6% and International Business Machines (IBM), which is up more than 5%. These companies could turn things around, and it’s clear that Wall Street wants to chase them on good news.
The approach is something of a guessing game, though. Big money is seeking value in these underperformers that have big yields as safety nets. Verizon (VZ) is the only name that is lower, and that’s actually the stock with the biggest dividend.
Some of the dogs without yields are coming on strong as well, including Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), which looks very attractive despite its higher-than-average risk, and Under Armour (UAA), which has edged higher along with Nike (NKE).
Of course, nothing beats the old-school approach – investment strategies that involve less guessing and more number-crunching and connect the dots of a growing economy with stocks that should benefit the most.
On that note, I continue to love the action in materials. Yesterday’s strength was led by container and packaging companies WestRock (WRK) and Packaging Corporation of America (PKG).
Last year I pounded the table on names associated with moving the economy. I continue to feel strongly about the industrials, especially those that work with trains and planes as well as diversified machinery companies like Cummins (CMI).
Then there’s oil. Don’t look now, but U.S. crude inventories are at their lowest level since September 2015. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is on the cusp of a major breakout with a close above $62 a barrel. Another big winner will be EOG Resources (EOG), which announced a major windfall from the new tax law.
The key for 2018 is that economic data across the board portrays an economy on fire, and that along with tax reform and the potential for big infrastructure spending are the main reasons why I see great opportunities for us ahead. We know there will always be ups and downs, but 2018 has all the ingredients to be another spectacular year.