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Tankers, tobacco shine as market turns over

Posted by: Aaron Pressman on August 14, 2006

The market’s turn over the past three months or so has certainly shaken up some top performing themes of the past three years. Run a Morningstar screen of the top industries over the past three years and you find steel, oil and coal among the winners. They’ve all faltered. Other top industries now dragging include machinery, building materials and hotels. Over the past three months all of those largely cyclical players (companies whose fates are tied closely to the larger economy) have dived. Oil and gas products companies, such as refiners Valero Energy (VLO) and Sunoco (SUN), have been an exception.

But what industries are holding up and even doing well – that is, were among the top performers over the past three years and the past three months? Just a few, including tanker stocks, such as Frontline (FRO) and Teekay Shipping (TK), tobacco companies like Altria (MO), and managed care providers (a segment including prescription drug benefit managers) like Humana (HUM) and Caremark RX (CMX).

And then of course, there are the stinkers that still stink. The radio industry, led by losers like Clear Channel (CCU) and Cox Radio (CXR), has dropped for the last five-day, month, three-month, year-to-date, one-year, three-year and five-year periods. Out of more than 120 industries ranked by Morningstar, radio is dead last for the last three years and in the bottom 25 over the past three months. Ouch. Education, online retail and semiconductors look pretty sad, too.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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