Retailers got a break in February, but retail exchange traded funds (ETFs) so far today don’t appear to have gotten the memo. Overall, sales were sluggish, but the numbers reverse the downward slide sales have been on for the last six months.
While consumers returned to the stores, one of the big winners was Wal-Mart (WMT), whose sales results surpassed expectations, reports Anne D’Innocenzio for the Associated Press. This could be an indication that while consumers are starting to shop again, they’re hardly ready to start throwing their money this way and that.
High gas and food prices remain a factor, and by and large, consumers confined themselves to necessities. Apparel stores were among the weakest performers.
Retail ETFs so far this year have not been reflecting whatever scant positive news has come out of their sector:
- Retail HOLDRs (RTH), down 3.4% year-to-date
- SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 3.8% year-to-date
- Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY), down 4.6% 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.