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Editor's Pick

Value Stocks Continued Strength Might Depend On One Area Of Transports

I know all the talk continues to surround technology stocks (XLK), particularly semiconductors ($DJUSSC) and software ($DJUSSW). And why wouldn’t it? These groups have been absolutely on fire since the end of the 2022 cyclical bear market. Rates remain low and many of these companies are seeing double digit profit growth. As I’ve said often, this is NIRVANA for growth stocks. But there comes a time, if we use perspective, that these stocks simply get ahead of themselves in terms of valuations. I don’t believe that these areas will simply fall apart as conditions remain conducive for further growth. The economy remains resilient (think soft landing), however, and other areas are showing improvement and strong EPS growth. Bull markets are known for periodic rotation to keep things humming along, so ruling out value areas would be a mistake in my mind.

Financials

Many banks ($DJUSBK) are posting EPS ahead of expectations and the group looks better technically than it has in more than 2 years. As an example, let’s check out the weekly chart of regional banks (KRE):

The weekly PPO has turned higher and bullish momentum appears to be accelerating. After significant deterioration in relative strength in March and April, we’ve seen the KRE trend higher in terms of its relative performance vs. the benchmark S&P 500.

As the Fed lowers the fed funds rate in 2024, we’ll see a reversing of the inverted yield curve. No area of the market is hit harder by an inverted yield curve than banks. The reversal will provide tailwinds for the group and I believe those tailwinds are already being felt.

On Monday, I’m featuring a financial stock that reported EPS well above its consensus estimate and appears poised for much further price appreciation in 2024. It pays a very nice dividend, so it’s likely to be a stock that satisfies investors looking for both capital appreciation AND income. To register for our FREE EB Digest newsletter, simply CLICK HERE to provide your name and email address. There’s no credit card required and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Industrials

While financials, and particularly banks, have shown steady improvement in the second half of 2023 and into 2024, many areas of industrials continue to struggle. One key area will be transportation stocks ($TRAN). The TRAN just hit significant long-term relative support as you can see here:

That relative strength line just hit major relative support and is beginning to turn higher. If it’s going to keep pushing higher, then a critical area to watch is railroads ($DJUSRR). I think they could hold the key for all of transportation in 2024. The chart below shows that railroads were strengthening in Q4, but weakened on a relative basis as the group consolidated in a potential cup with handle pattern. Should this break to the upside, I see the DJUSRR providing renewed leadership and allowing transportation to push much higher in 2024. Check out railroads:

Railroads are testing the lower channel line in its relative uptrend channel (red circle). It’s typical for stocks or industry groups to lose relative strength while they consolidate in an uptrending market. The cause is rotation as traders await another breakout to return to the group. Should railroads breakout above 3425 or so, I’d look for it to be the catalyst to further strength in transports. Ultimately, this would lead to relative strength in the industrials sector.

Happy trading!

Tom

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