Yesterday was outstanding for dozens of BMR stocks. Our overall universe jumped close to 1%, well ahead of the market as a whole and its quieter uptick.
When people talk about a stock-picker's market, this type of day is what they mean. Granted, closely watched indices are within a few percentage points (3%) of last year's record peaks, but barely half the market is actively engaged in keeping the benchmarks aloft. A full 50% of the S&P 500 and 30% of the elite Dow industrials are down at least 10% from their highs.
That's a lot of weakness for stronger stocks to overcome. In other words, for every leader, there's a laggard that's either failing to contribute to performance or acting as an actual drag.
We aren't perfect, so we have a few of those laggards scattered around the BMR portfolios that we're willing to treat a little tenderly while they recover their momentum. After all, in our view their long-term potential is worth a few months of patience. However, after a day like yesterday when 70% of the market and 85% of our recommendations gained ground, it's worth making sure we're fully exposed to the hot spots.
Every single one of our mostly gigantic Stocks For Success as well as the much smaller Aggressive portfolio moved up yesterday -- a good sign. Like the market as a whole, around 25% of our universe has either rallied back into 52-week record territory or is within a 3% surge of breaking the historical ceiling.
We'll list the names here but not the tickers because you probably know most of them by heart: Microsoft, PayPal, Visa, Shopify, Workday, Exact Sciences and newcomer CyberArk. Others are a little less famous so their strength is entirely about their intrinsic value as investments, with practically no "hot money" driving them up: CBRE, Equity Residential, Universal Display, Ares Capital and our Municipal Bond funds Invesco Municipal Trust and Nuveen AMT-Free Municipal Income Fund.
On a different tick in the market cycle, some will step back and others like Paycom Software, Eli Lilly and Dollar Tree will rotate into the driver's seat. What makes us happy is how broad our list of leaders is right now compared to the market as a whole. Breadth is actually grim in the overall market when you segment performance by industry. If we were focused on Materials, for example, the biggest ones are actually foreign Miners and Oil companies far removed from our usual stomping ground.
Likewise, there's a lot of dead weight in Consumer Staples as well as Discretionary stocks, especially when you factor out Amazon. At best 1 in 10 companies in either sector is anywhere near a 52-week high. While that theoretically leaves a lot of room for future upside, gratification has been elusive unless you happened to be in the right names. We're barely in those sectors.
We'd hate to be a fund manager forced to pick from only those stocks, or even Healthcare for that matter, where barely 1 in 20 companies are near the record zone. That's 95% of the sector grinding its gears. Officially, 75% of Healthcare has yet to recover from last year's bear market conditions.
And then there's Technology. Like these other themes, it's far from a win-rich field, with barely 12% of the sector doing enough work to keep the entire group within sight of last year's record. Nonetheless, this is where we shine. Our Tech leaders (listed above) are running rings around everything else on Wall Street.
On the flip side, the Financials are actually full of winners, but there's a twist. The big Banks that dominate the sector in terms of both market weight and headlines remain a drag that we haven't been willing to recommend on a stock-by-stock basis. However, Finance also includes Real Estate and the Closed End Funds that dominate our High Yield portfolio, as well as Visa and PayPal. We're right there in the thick of the action, with our stocks breaking records.