Consumer staples are things like toothpaste and toilet paper, the type of products you buy no matter what the economy is doing. A consumer staples exchange traded fund holds a basket of companies that offer these products. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) includes companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Coca Cola (KO). The ETF is up 5% for the year versus the S&P 500 up 0.1%. XLP has been holding up in the recent downturn too, up 3% for the month.
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