Stocks quoted in this article:
Stocks are off sharply today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) down approximately 1%. However, the sector currently feeling the most pain is technology. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) has dropped more than 1.5%, with many individual names in that space backpedaling around 4%. Decliners are outpacing advancers by a ratio of nearly five to one, and there is suddenly a general sense of fear among market participants.
Although stocks and commodities are staring at steep losses again today, there are a few sectors that could benefit from this phenomenon. As of 3:00 p.m. Eastern, the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT) is currently positive. A large reason for today's strong performance is weakness in the crude oil market. Oil is a major input cost for these companies -- airlines, rails, etc. -- and cheaper oil means a lower cost of doing business.
Assuming no major market meltdown is in the cards, one could expect a relative outperformance by the transports should oil continue to drip lower. Additionally, IYT's chart still looks very much intact, especially when compared to other sectors. Today's lows on the IYT are near its 20-day and 50-day moving averages, which could both act as support going forward.
If you don't actively buy puts and/or short stocks to hedge your portfolio, perhaps replacing some current long positions with members of the transport sector could serve as a good hedge to your overall exposure.