After a laggard showing in 2014 that saw it rank as the second-worst of the nine sector SPDR exchange traded funds, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLY) has roared back in 2015.
With a year-to-date gain of 5.3%, XLY, the largest ETF dedicated to the consumer discretionary sector, is the third-best performer among the nine sector SPDRs. XLY has also earned the title of focus ETF for March from S&P Capital IQ.
“According to Capital IQ consensus forecasts, the consumer discretionary sector of the S&P 500 index is expected to generate 12.3% revenue growth in 2015, the second highest and just slightly behind the financials sector. In the fourth quarter of 2014, consumer discretionary companies are projected to generate 11.7% growth,” said the research firm in a recent note.
XLY has been boosted this year by, among other catalysts, a resurgent Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN). Amid that stock’s entry into a bear market last year, XLY’s hefty allocation to Amazon was an albatross. With Amazon up 22.5% year-to-date, XLY’s 6.3% weight to the stock is more gift than curse. [New Highs for Discretionary ETFs]
“While as a group it trades at 20X 2015 estimates, a higher multiple than 18X for the “500”, the P/E-growth rate of 1.2X is lower than the 1.5X for broader index. On a bottom-up level, S&P Capital IQ’s equity analysts have a Buy or Strong on 40 of the 85 consumer discretionary stocks within the S&P 500 Index. As such investors may want to look to sector ETFs to increase their exposure,” said S&P Capital IQ.
XLY’s third-largest holding, Home Depot (NYSE: HD), has also propelled the ETF higher. Home Depot, 6.5% of XLY’s weight, has surged 9.3% this year. Last week, the company boosted its dividend by 26% while approving an $18 billion share buyback plan. [Home Depot Lifts These ETFs]