One of the bears’ biggest talking points is getting torn apart

Say what they will about this market, the bears can no longer claim that the rally is being driven by a small set of high-performing stocks.

As the S&P 500 hits fresh record highs Tuesday — the third straight session in which it's done so — 61 individual names within the index are hitting 52-week highs. All told, 18 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 have hit 52-week highs on the first two days of this week, through midday Tuesday trading.

In a related stat, 47 stocks in the index have risen by 40 percent or more this year. And six of the S&P's 11 sectors have risen by more than 10 percent.

Underlying the S&P's 13 percent year-to-date rise "is some very impressive single stock performance," commented Jim Strugger, derivatives strategist at MKM Partners, in a Tuesday morning note to clients.

Slicing the market up a bit differently, Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, observes that about 63 percent of stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange are above their respective 200-day moving averages.

That's important, Wald wrote to CNBC on Monday, because "all of the major market tops over the last 20 years developed with this reading below 60 percent."

"We ran the numbers and they show that forward returns have been stronger when participation is above 60 percent than below," Wald said. "Overall, we see healthy bull market activity and expect advance to continue."

Not every stock is doing well, of course. It is interesting to note that the S&P 500 component that has been the biggest single contributor to this year's gain – Apple – has served as the biggest drag over the past month, dropping 5.7 percent as it has.

Of course, this is really just another indication that the big tech stocks are no longer the only game in town.


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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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