ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Despite elevated unemployment levels, the economy appears to be in recovery mode which could be beneficial for certain exchange traded funds (ETFs). But which areas are poised to benefit the most?

Two sectors that have performed well over the past year and are poised to continue moving upward in a recovering economy are technology and consumer discretionary, according to Additionally, the transportation sector seems to have some appeal because transportation is required to move finished goods.

Technology is prospering because consumers have an insatiable desire for innovation, while the latest technology gives businesses a much-needed competitive advantage. (More on technology).  The sector can be accessed through the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (NYSE Arca: IYW), which is up 54.6% year-to-date.

The consumer discretionary sector has been pummeled by recent economic conditions as consumers remain loath to spend. As the recovery continues and confidence is regained, though, it’s wise to keep in mind that the most beaten-down areas offer the greatest potential for growth. (Why donsumer discretionary is hot).  It can be accessed through the Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR), which is up 39.6% year-to-date.

On the same token, since this is expected to be a soft recovery, it’s worth keeping an eye on the consumer staples sector, as well. The unemployment rate is at a 26-year high, which means that there are still millions of people feeling the pinch. When they shop, they’re looking for what they need, not what they want. PowerShares Dynamic Consumer Staples (NYSEArca: PSL) is up 17.5% year-to-date.

The transportation sector has been hit hard and will naturally improve as the economy does; even Warren Buffett seems good value in the sector, based on his recent acquisition of Burlington Northern (NYSE: BNI). (Where transportation goes from here).  It can be accessed through the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Transportation (IYT) which is up 13.4% year-to-date. For more stories on the transportation sector, visit our transportation category.

The shipping sector is another indicator of how the world is recovering. Once global demand resumes, shipping prices should recover and an increase in available ships will be moot. (What challenges are facing the shipping industry?) As consumers begin to spend more and nations struggle to rebuild, this sector will ultimately reflect a shift in tides. Claymore/Delta Global Shipping (NYSEArca: SEA), up 29.1% year-to-date.

Last, but certainly not least, consider emerging markets. While the United States recovery lags, that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities. Emerging markets have outperformed handily this year – iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEArca: EEM) is up 61.6% year-to-date, vs. the S&P 500, which is up 20.4%.

For full disclosure, Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEM.

Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. 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.