Today’s bull market run, now in its ninth year, is ripe with thriving companies that give investors opportunities to invest in momentum. After all, stocks are tapping all-time highs and show few signs of slowing.

But today’s market does have some pockets of struggling industries, and investors can turn to these sectors to find the best shorts this year.

Here are three sectors to start exploring shorts for the first quarter of 2018:

Independent oil and gas 

Like many commodities, the oil and gas business is cyclical, and it’s currently in a down cycle amid a glut of global supply. The price of oil began to stabilize and recover between the second half of 2017 and early January 2018, where it hit more than 3-year highs of $70 per barrel. But the outlook for oil and gas over the next few years remains mixed. The recent price increase has coincided with expectations of stronger demand in 2018 and commitments from OPEC and other allies to extend production cuts, which should be supportive for prices. But the U.S. is not expected to follow suit wth production cuts, with U.S. shale production likely to rise. That, paired with geopolitical risk, could limit any gains.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting that Brent crude oil spot price will average $60 per barrel in 2018 and $61 per barrel in 2019. Goldman Sachs recently lifted its forecasts for oil prices for 2018, predicting an average of $62 per barrel in 2018 for Brent crude, up from an earlier forecast of $55 per barrel. Goldman also lifted its forecasts for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) to $57.50 in 2018 from $55. But other analysts, including those from Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others forecast prices will be flat to lower in the first quarter of 2018.

Crude oil was trading near $65 per barrel as of February 3rd, still significantly lower than $115 per barrel, the post-recession high hit in March 2011.

Independent oil-related companies like Superior Energy Services (SPN​) are struggling and are likely to continue to struggle if oil prices remain depressed. That’s because they tend to have higher-than-average costs. Superior shares lost 44 percent in 2017 but have gained about 8 percent so far in 2018.

Traditional and apparel retailers

The overall improved economic environment and impact from the tax cuts should support a better overall retail environment and an increase in consumer spending this year. Ratings agency Moody's forecasts a more stable retail environment in 2018, with overall sales growth of 3.5% to 4.5% during the year. But that improvement is more likely to support ecommerce and big home improvement stores like Home Depot, with traditional and clothing retailers primed to stabilize, but not rally, according to analysts.

Moody's said it sees select weakness in apparel and footwear, auto retailers and office supply stores, among others. Retailers with a heavy presence in malls have been especially hurt by today’s move online. A slew of mall-based apparel retailers filed for bankruptcy last year, including Gymboree, Wet Seal, The Limited and BCBG Max Azria. That weakness has impacted the department stores chains that anchor malls, like JC Penney (JCP​) and Macy’s (M), both of which had a rough time in 2017. But the agency says it sees losses tapering off for such companies in the year ahead.

U.S. retail sales increased 0.4 percent in December from an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in November, the Commerce Department reported. So-called "core" sales, which exclude volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3% from an upwardly revised gain of 1.3 percent in November. Year-over-year, December sales rose 5.4%, the government said.

Retail Real estate

Potential weakness can also be found in the companies related to the real estate supported by retailers.

Mall landlords, or real estate investment trusts (REITs), including Simon Property Group (SPG) are feeling the brunt of the ailing retail sector’s bankruptcies and store closures. For example, Sears Holdings (SHLD) recently announced it would close another 63 locations starting early next year.

Without retail tenants, mall landlords can’t collect rent. Their problems will likely continue to escalate as more traditional retailers with sliding sales shutter stores and break leases under bankruptcy protection. Simon Property Group's stock is down about 11 percent over the last year. Shares of DDR Corp. have fallen about 49 percent in the same period.

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