Today investors saw a resumption of the pattern that has characterized the recent stage of this stock market rally: the U.S. dollar fell and stocks rose.
The U.S. dollar, in fact, hit a one-year low against the euro.
That was good for gold, copper, oil and other commodities and commodity stocks. (The price of these commodities goes up when the value of the dollar falls.) Oil climbed back above $71 a barrel reversing yesterdays drop.
With the market in rally mode again some unusual sectors went along for the ride–and in one case led the parade. Financial stocks climbed 2.3% on the day making that sector the best performer among the 10 sectors that make up the S&P 500 index. That despite widespread predictions that earnings at banks and other financials will take a beating in the next couple of quarters as these companies have to add to reserves in the face of steady deterioration in their credit card and commercial loan portfolios.
Retail stocks also jumped, aided by an upgrade to Macy’s (M). I guess investors are looking past lackluster back-to-school sales and wishing for a black bottom line at Christmas.
The healthcare sector, which was Monday’s big winner as traders rotated into a cheaper sector, was a loser today, doing 0.3%.
My advice here is to hang in as long as the dollar is falling. That is the lesson I take away from Monday’s drop and today’s rally. I would avoid financials on the bad loan default numbers to come and use commodity and industrial stocks to participate in the rally.
But this still feels late in the game to me and I wouldn’t bet the farm here with most of the harvest in the barn.