The consumer discretionary sector has gotten plenty of attention this year and for all the wrong reasons. What has been one of the leading sectors over the past several years is the worst-performing group in the S&P 500 in 2014.
Traditional cap-weighted discretionary exchange traded funds have been undone by the likes of Amazon (NasdaqGS:AMZN), which is down over 17% of the year. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has been nothing to write home about either. The Dow component has traded slightly lower year-to-date even though the Dow has raced to a series of record highs. [Waiting on a Discretionary Rebound]
The good news is discretionary stocks are attractively valued in the eyes of some market observers and have recently been showing signs of rebounding. That rebound is gaining steam from some momentum stocks, meaning it will pay for investors to be selective with discretionary ETFs.
Enter the PowerShares DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum Portfolio (NYSEArca: PEZ). PEZ differs from standard discretionary ETFs in that it is not home to some of the sector’s most familiar names such as Home Depot, Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), Ford (NYSE: F) McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) or cable providers.
That has not stopped PEZ from outperforming rival cap-weighted ETFs. Entering Tuesday, the PowerShares ETF was up 3.2% over the past month, 100 basis points ahead of the Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEArca: VCR).
PEZ has benefited in earnest from the resurgence of once beloved momentum stocks. Not only is PEZ one of a scant amount of ETFs that feature Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX) among its top-10 holdings, Tesla (NasdaqGS: TSLA) is also a top-10 holding in the ETF. Those stocks are higher by 9.2% and 14.4%, respectively, over the past month. [Elon Musk ETFs Soar]
Amazon, PEZ’s ninth-largest holding with a weight of 3.5%, has joined the fun as well with a one-month gain of 3.5%.
By way of its index methodology, which focuses on price momentum and relative strength, PEZ has the flexibility to rotate out of a sector’s lagging industry groups and into the ones that are showing noticeable relative strength. [Index Changes Lift PowerShares ETFs]
Currently, that includes an 11.5% weight to industrials. Yes, PEZ, a discretionary ETF, allocates 11.5% of its weight to discretionary stocks. That is a good thing when almost 6% of the ETF is devoted to airline stocks at a time when those stocks are soaring.
PowerShares DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum Portfolio
Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Amazon.