Defensive Consumer Staples ETFs Lead Market Rally | ETF Trends

The equities markets advanced to new all-time highs, but defensive consumer staples sector exchange traded funds led the charge Thursday as the Commerce Department revealed a decline in gross domestic product.

Consumer staples ETFs also hit all-time highs Thursday. The First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXG) increased 1.7%, Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: VDC) rose 0.9% and Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP) was up 0.9%. Year-to-date, FXG is up 8.3%, VDC is 3.7% higher and XLP gained 3.7%. [Sinful Staples ETF at All-Time Highs]

Broad U.S. markets advanced Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing at a new high, despite the updated estimate on first-quarter U.S. GDP that showed a seasonally adjusted 1% contraction, reports Chris Dieterich for the Wall Street Journal.

Investors largely brushed the negative GDP numbers, attributing the weakness to the crippling winter conditions and arguing that the markets have already priced in a poor number. Traders are now anticipate a strong second quarter showing.

“All in all, the data is adding up to a stronger second quarter,” Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said in the article.

The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF is a market-cap-weighted fund that holds consumer staple picks from the S&P 500, which include food, beverage, personal-goods and tobacco names. XLP has a 0.16% expense ratio.