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Pro Analysis

This economic data point may signal a business recovery...and a stock rally

NYSE New York Stock Exchange traders markets
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With the S&P 500 just under a new all-time high, one prominent Wall Street strategist believes a little-watched piece of data out earlier this month confirmed business for companies is about to ramp back up this summer, and that will push the benchmark to new heights. Small cap stocks will do even better, he said.

"We would be buyers of an upside breakout — in other words, we do not think this breakout attempt will fail like it did in 2015," Fundstrat's Thomas Lee wrote in a note to clients Friday. "Upside breakout will be led by small caps due to ISM export recovery."

In its monthly survey of manufacturing executives, the Institute for Supply Management asks purchasing managers about whether they are exporting more goods or not. In the June 1 reading, a majority said their exports were picking up for the second month in a row. Lee found when the ISM new export orders reading goes above 50 and stays there for multiple months it predicted a positive inflection in S&P 500 revenue growth four out of four times since 1993.