Outta Style??

Oh what a difference a month can make regarding stocks and markets. I remember like it was yesterday that chilly day on December 24th when stocks had been pummeled for 2 ½ months and looked like road kill after rounds of program selling and technical breakdowns. Today, as we look at our portfolios from January we see life again from our favorite stocks and the potential for better days ahead this coming year. Last week certainly gave me confidence that stock picking and selection is not dead and the old tarnished thought of the wisdom of a well-constructed diversified portfolio remains the best long term option for capital appreciation.

For those watching at home you probably noticed that Apple and Facebook stocks both had nice favorable stock reactions to earnings and cash flow reports that were better than expected that allowed these beaten down bellwethers from previous times to show some upside spark that may grow into a sizeable rally if the world doesn’t fall into a deep dark hole and folks like me return to stock picking instead of technical trading. Not to be left out of the party, Boeing and Honeywell from the industrial sector also reported noticeable strong reports that illustrated that some industrial stocks were not affected by China trade war fears and still had the right stuff to report sizeable gains.

Not only were investors once again starting to put their feet back into the water from strong earnings reports but some were even looking beyond recent potholes. One of my favorite steady eddy stock aristocrats, Johnson & Johnson, was acting like a champ until a newspaper article came out about the talc related legal concerns just before Christmas. Not a nice a thing to do before Christmas. I know we can’t control such things but, give me a break, the majority of these incidents were 20 and 30 years ago under a different management team and have gradually been dealt with over the years. Today, J&J is a much better company with a good mix of pharmaceutical and other healthcare related products.

And finally, the much beleaguered energy patch is feeling some new love from investors as crude oil starts creeping higher back above $64 for Brent and $55 for WTI. It would be icing on the cake to have our favorite energy stocks join the recent uptrend and contribute to the recent positive performance led by technology and healthcare. It seems for the short term at least, Venezuela problems will help oil and energy stocks hold their recent bids higher and could even surprise to the upside.

As we move into February I hope the world of stock picking remains active and demonstrates over and over that good stock selection is not “Out of Style” and good stocks will be rewarded.

Have a great week,

Roger N. Steed

February 4, 2019

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