The "Sell in May" theory has been turned on its head so far this year. As shown in the left-hand side of our key ETF matrix below, US equities have jumped out of the gate strong over the first 8 trading days of May. The Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) and Smallcap 600 (IJR) have rallied the most with gains of more than 3% already, while the Smallcap 600 Growth ETF (IJT) is up even more at 4.03%. The rally we've seen to start the month has been led by cyclical sectors like Industrials (XLI) and Consumer Discretionary (XLY). The weakness in defensive sectors has been notable as well. The Utilities ETF (XLU) is actually down 3.86% on the month, leaving it up just 14.06% on the year. XLU had been one of the best performing sectors over the first four months of 2013, but now it has moved down to the middle of the pack.
Internationally, the gains in stocks have been less robust. Of the 14 country ETFs shown, 9 are up on the year while 5 are down, and aside from Japan (EWJ), they're all up less than 10%. Russia (RSX), France (EWQ) and Germany (EWG) have posted the biggest gains so far in May.
Outside of the equity asset class, there hasn't been much to write home about. Commodities like gold (GLD) and silver (SLV) remain weak, and while we've seen a small bounce in oil (USO) recently, it's still down for the quarter and up just 2.31% on the year. Treasuries have sold off pretty sharply this month, with TLT down 3.46%. Fixed income ETFs in our matrix are pretty much red across the board.