Lower oil and gasoline prices are putting more money into consumer wallets, which could translate to increased spending and continued strength for consumer staples exchange traded funds.
Consumer staple stocks were among the better performing areas of the market. Last year, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP), the largest consumer staples ETF, rose 20.6%, Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: VDC) increased 19.2% and Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF (NYSEArca: FSTA) advanced 20.2%. The three ETFs track separate but very similar consumer staples indices. XLP has a 0.16% expense ratio while VDC and FSTA have a 0.12% expense ratio.
According to Societe Generale, gasoline prices at $2.31 per gallon could free up an average $700 or an extra 1.8% of their typical spending budget for each American household this year, reports Matt Clinch for CNBC.
The national average gasoline price was hovering around $2.168 per gallon Friday, according to AAA. In comparison, the average price of gasoline was $3.34 per gallon in 2014. [Inverse ETF Plays for a Bearish Oil Outlook]
“We think investors may not fully appreciate the extent to which cheaper gasoline should boost U.S. consumer spending this year,” Societe Generale analysts said in a note. “Lower gasoline prices in isolation (before the impact of cheaper energy and air travel) give consumers the equivalent of a near-2-percent pay rise in 2015.”
GasBuddy also estimates an average gas price of $2.64 per gallon this year, which could allow consumers to save $97 billion or about $750 per household.