The S&P 500 closed yesterday less than 1% from its all-time high on December 31st. After yesterday’s rally, I noticed a few large cap stocks breaking out to new all-time highs as well. Given that strength has generally begotten strength for much of the past 2 years, I wanted to filter through the S&P top 100 largest market cap stocks to find those that had broken out to a new all-time high in the first 4 trading days of 2014, creating a preliminary watch list for potential large cap leaders in the new year.
While there were many stocks close to a new high, so far there are only 5 that I identified that have broken out to a new all-time high, and have remained positive in the new year:
1. GOOG – Stock broke out to a new high yesterday, gapping above the 1121 level from December 31st. GOOG has been in a clean uptrend of higher highs and higher lows since mid-2012:
2. CMCSA – Comcast is now a $137 billion market cap company, up 100% in the past 2 years. The stock has been in a very clean uptrend since the start of 2012:
3. UNH – Stock broke above the September high yesterday on decent volume. The stock made a new all-time high on a strong run in the summer, and has held above the prior $64.61 high from December 2005 ever since:
4. ABT – Abbott broke out on Monday, and has held the breakout even after yesterday’s pullback, though the stock is right on the cusp of prior resistance from May and November, around $38.75:
5. DTV – The last of the list, and the smallest market cap at around $37 billion (technically outside the top 100, but including it anyways), is DIRECTV. Stock has run higher over the past 3 days to a new high:
Of the five, the 2 largest, GOOG and CMCSA, have not encountered resistance for several months. The other 3 broke out of multi-month consolidation to start the new year. Not surprisingly, one is tech, two are media, and 2 are health care stocks. Media and health care have been leaders of this bull market for years now. Financials are absent despite their early strength this year since few of the stocks are near all-time highs given their steep falls in 2008.
With the exception of UNH, the stocks on this list all have 10-20% earnings growth modeled in for the next 2 years. There were several other stocks that were close to making the list (V, MA, and BA are a few examples), and I am focused on those as well. For now, this is the early leaders list in the annual horse race.