Since last month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed back above 18,000, then took a step back. Yesterday, the index neared that level again. So far this year, the best-performing sectors have been Consumer Discretionary up 17.9%, Basic Materials up 17.3% and Financial Services up 16%.
While investors are racking up some nice gains, the economic picture remains on a steadily upward trend. Job openings soared to 5.757 million, much higher than the 5.608 million that experts had anticipated. Consumer credit more than doubled the forecasts. But the employment picture remains mixed—while the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0% for April, initial claims rose, but continuing claims declined. As I said, the recovery is steady but slower than we’d like.
Investor Sentiment also remains mixed. As you’ll see in our Market Views section, the Bears still hold sway and that is reflected—although decreasingly bearish—in the broader sentiment, as reported by Timer Digest, Investor’s Intelligence and AAII.
Our Spotlight Stock this month is a single-tenant Real Estate Investment Trust, paying a nice dividend—and, as you’ll read in my Feature, one of my long-term favorite stocks.
Carrying forward the REIT trend, we also offer you two additional REIT choices. Our Financial picks include a regional bank and a global investment asset manager.
Value has returned with a vengeance, and our contributors scoured the markets for a wide variety of value stocks, including companies in the industrial, transportation and entertainment sectors. In Growth & Income, we offer ideas from the fast food, leisure, telecom, home building, automotive and agricultural industries.
Two of our choices this month are rewarding their shareholders with rising dividend payouts, and we also include a Short Sell idea. In Utilities, you’ll find picks from the midwestern and southern parts of the U.S.
And our Funds this month focus primarily on high yield issues.
Nancy K. Zambell
Wall Street’s Best Dividend Stocks