The retail sales picture didn’t change much last month, but exchange traded fund (ETF) investors don’t appear to be so discouraged.

Chart_3Despite retailers reporting the weakest March sales in 13 years, retail ETFs were up more than 2% midday. The usual suspects contributed to slow sales: slumping economy and high food and energy prices, reports Anne D’Innocenzio for the Associated Press.

As evidence that consumers were sticking to the necessities and looking for bargains – Wal-Mart (WMT) and Costco (COST) were the strongest performers.

Sales dropped by 0.5%, instead of the estimated 1% growth.

Retail ETFs have been moving higher today:

  • SPDR S&P Retail (XRT)
  • Retail HOLDRs (RTH): Wal-Mart is 18.3%; Costco is 5.9%
  • Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY)

For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own RTH.

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.