This year has brought an extension of the bull market, but consumer discretionary, one of the S&P 500’s leading sectors over the past three years, has gone from leader to laggard.
If not for the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLY) would be the worst of the nine sector SPDR exchange traded funds. As it is is up just two-thirds of a percent this year. That is better than XLE’s showing, but still a far cry from what the S&P 500 has offered.
Finding true leadership among consumer cyclical ETFs this year is tricky, but a reduction in expectations to merely solid performers does turn up what could be a compelling opportunity with the holiday shopping season here. [Pre-Holiday Look at Retail ETFs]
The Market Vectors Retail ETF (NYSEArca: RTH) is up 6.1% this year. Although that makes it a broader market laggard, RTH’s performance is also enough to make it a star among consumer cyclical ETFs. In fact, to this point, RTH’s is 2014’s best consumer cyclical ETF.
RTH’s 2014 showing is all the more impressive when taking a look at some of its marquee. The $91.8 million ETF allocates nearly a combined quarter of its weight to Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) and Target (NYSE: TGT). To put that into context, Wal-Mart is one of the Dow’s worst performers this year while Amazon is in a bear market. [Amazon Hurts These ETFs]
The good news for RTH is that the other seven members of its top-10 lineup have traded higher this year, including an almost 26% gain for McKesson (NYSE: MCK). Costco (NasdaqGS: COST), Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) have posted an average year-to-date gain of about 17%. Those three stocks combine for over 20% of RTH’s weight. [Home Depot Lifts These ETFs]