Exchange traded funds (ETFs) and stocks are reflecting that women’s retailers could be nearing an inflection point, with trends at negative-to-flattish for 10 months.

Brigid Gaffikin for Thomson Financial reports that women’s specialty comps look to have led the way into a recessionary environment if the 2000-2001 downturn is any comparison. Women’s retailers have been underperforming those for teens, indicating that mothers pull back on their own spending before doing so for their children.

SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) is down 0.54% year-to-date. Among its holdings are Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN, 1.8%) and Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD, 1.8%).

Meanwhile, Vinnee Tong for the Associated Press reports that the service sector unexpectedly contracted in January for the first time in five years. The sector includes restaurants, travel, banking, construction and retail.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of service sector business activity dropped to 44.6 in January from 54.4 in December. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Below that indicates contraction.

Other ETFs that could feel a pinch from the news include:

  • iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Services (IYC), down 1.9% year-to-date
  • iShares Dow Jones US Financial Services (IYG), up 0.67% year-to-date
  • iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (ITB), up 14.9% year-to-date

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.