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Continuing last week’s strength, Financials and Technology led the market again today. Banks were up nearly +2% intraday, although they lost some of their steam when put-option trades in Financial ETFs reached 4-month highs. Last week, they roared ahead +7%, and they are now up more than +20% year-to-date.

The Financial sector was of course the leading sector last week and again today as our forward sector rating had forecasted last Monday. Lest you fear that banks could be topping, consider that the entire Financial sector had fallen nearly -80% from its mid-2007 high, and despite having nearly doubled over the last three years from its March 2009 low, the entire sector remains at less than 50% of its high in 2007.

Economic news continues to be slightly better than the month before. For example, retail sales were up a better-than-expected +1.1%, and the Empire Manufacturing Index came in at 20.2, its highest in more than a year. Price data was a tad higher-than-expected, but inflation remains under the Fed’s tight control. Initial jobless claims continued to improve although unemployment is still far from reasonable levels.

Here are the market stats.

Large-cap Value, not surprisingly, due to interest in the banking sector, led the market caps last week up +2.5%, and it also has the best monthly cap performance, +3.3%. The market continues to eschew Small-caps, with Small-cap Growth up only +1.2% last week and only +0.2% in the last month.

With our Sectorcast favoring Financials, Healthcare, and Energy, we like large-cap stocks from those sectors and avoid Utilities and Telecom. We continue to see the benefit of maintaining a hedge (no pun intended) in the face of unresolved global pressures and shaky domestic debt issues.

You might be interested in current valuations compared to last year’s May high. With the markets 4-6% above that high, surprisingly, valuations for our Sabrient Top 100 GARP stocks are still less than a year ago. The average P/Es of the Top 100, 300, and 1000 are at 9.1, 13.73, and 19.88 compared to 10.33, 13.13 and 18.33. Even better, the forward P/E of the Top 100 is only 7.54 compared to 8.23 in May 2011.

Even non-GARP P/Es are somewhat below historical averages.

4 Stock Ideas for this Market

This week, I created a custom search with MyStockFinder, emphasizing high value, high growth, high earnings quality, momentum, recent analyst revisions, dividend yield and only Large- and Mid-caps. Here are four stock ideas for your consideration:

Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO)–Financials

Reinsurance Group of America, Inc. (NYSE:RGA)–Financials

Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE:AMP)—Financials

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI)—Industrials

Source: Banks Fairly Valued And Contributing To Market Strength