Some Benchmark Stocks Showing Signs of Life

It’s very difficult to call where the current stock market is going to go. Anyone who professes to know is just plain guessing.

Some of the benchmark stocks that I follow have really turned around lately and this is a promising sign for the broader market. In particular, IBM (NYSE/IBM) has really outperformed, but I think this situation is specific to the company.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE/HPQ) is an important benchmark in the information technology (IT) industry and always a company worth following. This stock has turned from its downtrend along with Procter & Gamble (NYSE/PG) and Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE/CL).

The only sector that hasn’t turned really turned from its downtrend is financial stocks and this remains a worry for the market and the economy. Citigroup (NYSE/C) has stabilized over the last month, but just can’t get any momentum behind it.

So, the stock market is experiencing a small reprieve from its bear trend, but I just don’t have any defined sense as to whether it will last or not. Some economic data of late have been surprisingly strong. Just like the stock market, however, I think it’s reasonable to assume that the economic data going forward will be showing mixed messages.

Right now, anything could happen to the stock market. If inflation eases, financial companies stabilize and the economy shows some strength, then we’ll have the makings of a bull market in stocks.

The stock market has already priced in a slow recovery in the housing sector, so as long as this sector of the economy stabilizes, equity investors should stay happy. No one is expecting the housing market to turn around anytime soon.