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Daily record highs across the S&P 500 are telling investors this rally is broadening

This is The Takeaway from today's Morning Brief, which you can sign up to receive in your inbox every morning along with:

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As the major indexes closed in the red on Wednesday, 43 stocks in the S&P 500 (^GSPC) still managed to hit all-time highs.

In fact, record highs are piling up in 2024, with a solid 26% of all S&P 500 components (126 total) hitting at least one all-time high this year.

Nvidia (NVDA) lives up to its hype and tops the S&P 500 in broken records — notching 23 record highs over 40 trading days this year. It's also at the top of the benchmark index when it comes to returns this year, up over 50%.


But setting aside the AI-inspired headlines, it's the Industrials sector that has the most all-time highs with nearly half of its components in the S&P 500 hitting records. It also happens to be the second-best-performing sector in February, up nearly 7%.

Industrial stalwarts like Waste Management (WM) and Caterpillar (CAT) might not have semiconductor cachet, but they do have nearly 30 record highs between them. Uber Technologies (UBER), which recently replaced JetBlue (JBLU) in the Dow Jones Transportation Average (^DJT), buoys the sector's totals as well with 13 record highs and a return north of 25% year to date.

The top sector by performance this month — consumer discretionary, up over 7% — represents a diverse set of industries with stocks at record highs. Restaurants like Chipotle (CMG) and McDonald's (MCD), homebuilders like Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI), and travel stocks like Hilton (HLT) and Booking (BKNG) all contribute to the 100-plus record highs in the sector this month.

Both the Financials and Health Care sectors each have more than one quarter of their components hitting records in 2024 and are posting the second- and third-best respective sector returns of the year. JPMorgan (JPM) has clocked a respectable eight record highs this year. But insurer Progressive (PGR) hit an overall third-best 21 record highs. Like many insurers, it was among the leaders breaking to new highs late last year.

Though megacap in its own right, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) doesn't get Magnificent Seven headlines. But the insurer sports a market cap over a fifth bigger than Tesla. Warren Buffett's famed conglomerate is up 15%, with 15 record highs this year.

In Health Care, Boston Scientific (BSX) comes in second-best to Nvidia overall with 22 record highs. The weight-loss craze is seeing Eli Lilly (LLY) up 30% this year with 16 record highs. Though this analysis surveys large-cap stocks as represented by the S&P 500, small- and mid-cap biotech stocks have also been breaking to the upside recently. See Viking Therapeutics (VKTX), which has tripled its price this month alone and hit nine record highs.

The list of sector records trails off after Healthcare, with 20% of Communications Services components hitting records in 2024, followed by 18% for Materials and 13% for Energy.

But investors might sleep a little tighter knowing those scary headlines about "market concentration" are looking dated as the market broadens.

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