Consumer staples ETFs, such as vaunted Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP) and the Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: VDC), started 2013 in fine form thanks to what at the time was largely a risk-off rally.
Late in the second quarter, rising interest rates combined with a noticeably cyclical rotation to pressure staples ETFs. Over the past 90 days as 10-year Treasury yields have risen 4.3%, XLP has declined by nearly that exact amount. However, in the past month as 10-year yields have dipped 8%, XLP has been flat. [Stick to Staples ETFs]
“In the year ahead, we continue to see mixed fundamentals for the Consumer Staples sector. Overall, we expect relatively modest revenue growth from mature markets in the U.S. and Western Europe, along with some faster-growth opportunities from some developing markets in Asia and Latin America,” said S&P Capital IQ in a new research note.
Investors looking to access the staples sector on a more global scale have several ETF options. The iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: KXI) offers a “best of both worlds” approach with the U.S. accounting for 51.1% of the fund’s weight and steady developed markets like the U.K. and Switzerland combining for 21.5%. [An International Staples ETF]
Top holdings in KXI include Nestle (PK: NSRGY), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO). KXI has gained 10% this year. For an “ex-U.S.” play, investors can opt for the iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: AXSL), which is up 3% this year. AXSL, with just $7.5 million in assets under management, is primarily a developed markets play as the U.K., Switzerland and Japan combine for over 48% of the ETF’s weight.
S&P Capital IQ rates both KXI and AXSL overweight.