Utilities, Consumer Staples ETFs in the Doghouse in May

May 31st at 10:54am by John Spence

This month has not been kind to utilities and consumer staples ETF as investors rotate away from noncyclial dividend sectors that had hitherto outperformed, and into sectors that benefit from economic growth.

Among the nine sector SDPR funds, only Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLU) and Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLP) are in the red for May. The utilities ETF is down 7.5% for the trailing month while the consumer staples fund is off about 1%. [Interest Rates Dim Utility Sector ETFs]

Noted technical analyst Ralph Acampora on Friday tweeted that XLP is breaking below its 50-day simple moving average as money shifts away from defensive areas.

XLP and XLU are the only sector SPDR ETFs currently trading below their 50-day moving average, a closely watched technical indicator.

Through May 30, XLP has experienced net outflows of nearly $386 million this month, while XLU has seen about $258 million move out the door, according to IndexUniverse data.

Consumer staples and utilities ETFs are under pressure as interest rates rise and investors gain more confidence in stocks and the economy. [Sector Rotation: Defensive ETFs Lead Outflows]

Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF

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