Living in a Material (Stocks) World

It's a tale of when the worst becomes first.

The beaten-down materials sector appear to be back on track and making milestones: it's been the top performing sector over the course of a week, and the top performing sector today.

The once-beaten down sector, in terms of performance over the past five days, is up 10 percent and 4 percent today.

But what really gets my attention? The group is the worst performer since October 1, down 19 percent, a full five percentage points worse than the broader S&P. These are all signs of an early momentum for a group that's completely oversold.

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Some stocks to watch: Titanium Metals, Vulcan Materials, Freeport-McMoRan and U.S. Steel, all of which posted gains of 15 to 25 percent in five days.

And many, many more are making gains: Half the index is up 10 percent. (See chart, above.)