The S&P 500 has been range bound for more than a week, but some key sectors seem to be running.
First and foremost, energy continues its steady march upward. The SPDR Energy ETF (XLE) clawed back from an early drop to hit a new multiyear high for the third time in the last four sessions. It’s now pushing above its January peak to levels last seen in May 2015. Companies like ConocoPhillips (COP) and Marathon Oil (MRO) are hitting new highs, although the best performers today are companies that have lagged this year, like Cimarex Energy (XEC) and Newfield Exploration (NFX). That kind of value hunting may reflect investors widening their interest in the sector.
The other noteworthy breakout on my RadarScreen® today is the S&P Regional Bank ETF (KRE), which is inching above its previous high from March. The move comes just one day after Cincinnati-based Fifth Third (FITB) gobbled up MB Financial (MBFI) to expand in Chicago. Investors have also viewed the banking sector as a major beneficiary of rising interest rates. KRE, by the way, is running ahead of other popular ETFs tracking bigger institutions like the S&P Bank ETF (KBE) and the SPDR Financial ETF (XLF).
In contrast to XLE and KRE, most other big industry tracking ETFs haven’t hit new highs in at least two months. So, even in a quiet session like today, money is apparently flowing to new areas.