___

___

Friday, January 27, 2017

Retail Stocks Won't Join the 2017 Rally

Stocks have rallied since the Trump election and the Dow (DJIA) just passed 20,000 for the 1st time ever, but there is one sector of the stock market that just won't join the party.

Dow Jones Industrial Average 20,000 DJIA Stocks Chart
Dow Jones at 20,000.


Retail stocks continue to lag the overall market, a theme highlighted in our retail stock report from December 2016. While the post-election period saw a boost for many industry groups and the leading stock indices, the consumer retail sector is showing further signs of deterioration. 

Here's a technical snapshot of some of the leading mainstream retailers and retail brands. Included are charts of Nike (NKE), Under Armour, (UAA), Ralph Lauren (RL), Macy's (M), Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Kohl's (KSS), and Dollar Tree (DLTR).


Retail Stocks Charts Nike Under Armour Macy Wal-Mart Target
Retail stocks continue to under perform the overall market.


While the market has been offering up many opportunities in stronger groups such as financial services, banks, steel, construction, chemical stocks, semiconductors, tech, and cannabis, these widely-owned retail stocks (with the exception of NKE) have continued to slide. 

Strategy notes: Finding Winners, Cutting Losers

Avoiding these stocks, and other market laggards, has been a key part of my "defensive strategy" for the new year. While many investors prefer to diversify away their risk by holding a multitude of stocks in many industries, I choose to avoid these weak stocks and weak industry groups altogether. 

This gives me the mental, and financial, breathing space to search for potential winning stocks in strong industry groups.

As I wrote in our last report on the weak retail stocks

"...As a position trader focused on larger multi-week and multi-month moves, I want to find stocks that are set to trend higher. At present, neither of these [UAA and NKE] stocks fit that bill; they are fighting against the tide (downtrends).  

We want to buy stocks that are entering new uptrends or stocks that still have some gas in the tank to move higher. This puts the wind at our back, so to speak.

While many stocks and industries have benefited from the recent "Trump rally", retail shares have been quick to give back much (or all) of their gains. This is a red flag for the industry and for many of the individual retail stocks..."

The temptation to hold declining stocks is strong for most retail traders and investors. If you start cutting your losing investments earlier, you will find more financial and emotional breathing room to focus on your winning investments and trades. 

The US stock market is trading at new all-time highs (see: DIA, QQQ, SPY). Focus on buying stocks that are participating to the upside. You don't to spend another leg of the bull market holding laggards and marginal trades... you want to buy and hold winners. This is something I have to remind myself of from time to time! 

Subscribe to the free Finance Trends Newsletter. You can follow our real-time updates on Twitter.