I’ve been pounding the table for months telling investors to be in consumer-related stocks, and they’ve been on the move – for good reason. Just today, we’re seeing big moves in Harley-Davidson (HOG) and Cheesecake Factory (CAKE).

The reason is there is major news about the American consumer, including soaring retail sales and confidence. The key takeaway for me is that the consumer is indeed confident and leaving the house. Believe it or not, department sales are actually increasing faster than the internet sales and restaurant sales are popping while grocery stores fall flat.

The report was strong enough to get the Atlanta Fed to up its modeling for its current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 4.8%.

The stealth rally continues despite Washington, D.C. hijinks and confusion over trade and foreign policy. I like that the market is consolidating its recent gains without yielding much ground, as the next major rally means the Dow Jones Industrial Average should retest its all-time high point over 26,000 from back in February. That would be the kind of move that lures a lot of cash off the sidelines.

Overall, the market has gone back to climbing the wall of worry. Specifically, investors are pondering:

  • The Fed and interest rate hikes
  • Strong dollar
  • Geopolitical issues
  • Valuations

The latest trade salvo with China added to that worry today, but it’s really been a lack of buyers that has the markets lower. However, I still see the current situation as possibly even better than a “Goldilocks” scenario where it feels like nothing could go wrong. You have to be in the game to be able to climb the wall of worry, and now is the time to be owning great companies set to move higher in the strengthening economy.