A Nasty Game Of Chicken - Wall Street Style

Includes: ITB, IYR, IYZ, REZ, XHB
by: Lou Basenese

Instead of boring you with words, it's time to mix things up and enlighten you with a few striking charts. Without further ado...

Who Will Flinch First?

Based on the latest National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) sentiment index, homebuilders are more cheerful than they have been in a very long time. The latest reading jumped from 51 to 57 -- the highest in seven and a half years. The move caps off a two-month, 13-point rise, which hasn't happened since February 1992. So are investors just as enthusiastic about homebuilding stocks? Not so much. Ever since mortgage rates spiked, they've run for the exits, setting up one of the biggest divergences in recent history.

Homebuilders' sentiment and homebuilding stocks traditionally move in lockstep with one another. But that's not happening right now, setting the stage for the biggest game of chicken on Wall Street. As Bespoke Investment Group notes: "Going forward, it will be interesting to see if this recent divergence corrects itself -- either by housing stocks picking back up again, or homebuilder sentiment pulling back."

My money is on housing stocks reversing course. Anyone care to wager with me on that?

Yes, Mobile Is Kind of a Big Deal

Occasionally, I get ridiculed for my over-the-top enthusiasm regarding all things mobile and the runaway growth in the sector. But it's warranted. And here's the proof:

In the last decade, the number of mobile phone subscriptions has surged from 662 million to 6.4 billion, according to the International Telecommunications Union. That translates into a 91% global penetration rate, making mobile phones one of the most ubiquitous technologies in the world. Only steel blades, cotton t-shirts, aluminum pots, and plastic bottles are more prevalent (if they actually count as innovations). Even more staggering is the uptick in mobile Internet usage. The number of users recently topped two billion.

So forget Ron Burgundy -- mobile is kind of a big deal. Invest accordingly, or miss out.