I've noticed that--even after Thursday's impressive rise--only 1345 stocks across the NYSE, NASDAQ, and American Exchanges had made fresh 20-day highs against 550 new lows. By comparison, on December 5th, we had 1920 new 20-day highs and only 276 new lows.
Below, I take a larger picture from August of this year to the present. The red line is the daily closing price of the S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY). The blue line is the difference between the number of stocks across the three exchanges that are making fresh 65-day highs minus those making 65-day lows. Notice that, recently, as we've moved to new highs in SPY, the net number of stocks making new intermediate-term highs has lagged. [Props to the excellent Barchart site for the new high/low data].
So what's hot and what's not?
Most noticeably, we see that the S&P 500 large cap ETF (SPY) has made a new multi-year high. We see no such new high in the Russell 2000 small cap ETF (NYSEARCA:IWM) or the NASDAQ 100 Index fund (QQQQ). The midcap ETF (NYSEARCA:MDY) is knocking at door of new highs, but so far is lagging. In other words, we're seeing divergence based upon capitalization and market.
How about sectors?
I took a look at the 17 State Street "Spyder" ETFs to see which have made new highs since August on this recent rise. Six closed at new highs:
Eleven sector State Street "Spyder" ETFs, however, did not make new highs on Thursday:
Health Care (NYSEARCA:XLV)
Metals and Mining (NYSEARCA:XME)
Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (NYSEARCA:XOP)
While this is a mixed bag, it's clear that, overall, growth sectors are lagging value ones.
They say a rising tide lifts all boats. My research suggests that rising boats are indicative of significant rising tides. On Thursday, there were fewer rising boats than meets the eye.