It was one of last year’s top-performing sectors, but consumer discretionary stocks and the relevant exchange traded funds have been tepid at best in 2014.
Year-to-date, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLY) is the only one of the nine sector SPDRs to have traded lower. Although select automotive stocks, Ford (NYSEArca: F) for example, have been solid this year, discretionary ETFs have languished due to retailers’ weakness and the repudiation of Internet and media stocks, among other negative catalysts. [Staples ETFs Topping Discretionary Rivals]
Despite discretionary disappointment, some see opportunity with the sector and ETFs like XLY.
“This is a classic case of buying straw hats in the winter,” said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel’s Washington Crossing Advisors, told CNBC. “Consumption patterns in the United States will start to gravitate higher.”
XLY’s woes have been attributed to the poor holiday season, the worst for retail since 2009, and the crippling winter weather that kept shoppers from leaving the comfort of their homes, but as it pertains to XLY and rival discretionary ETFs, the excuse does not hold water. [Discretionary ETFs Attractive on Valuation]
Nearly 30.5% of the ETF’s weight goes to media stocks, some of which have struggled this year as highlighted by the 8.4% decline for the PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio (NYSEArca: PBS).
Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) on XLY. The ETF’s second-largest holding is in a bear market with a year-to-date decline of 21.5%. Poor weather and concerns regarding slack housing data have pressured shares of Dow component Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and rival Lowes (NYSE: LOW), which combine for 8% of XLY’s weight.