Defensive sectors often trade at premium valuations relative to the broader market and that is certainly the case at the moment with the consumer staples and utilities groups.
That does not mean investors should flee richly valued groups such as consumer staples and utilities. In fact, the case for these higher-yielding sectors could be getting a boost as bond markets are pricing in diminishing chances of the Federal Reserve boosting interest rates later this month while also reducing the odds of a September rate hike.
However, there is something else to consider with staples exchange traded funds such as the Consumer Staples Select SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP). That being weakness from a major staples sub-group, food stocks.
Setting the news aside and focusing on the technicals, we can see a break in the rising 2016 trend in the sector, with falling momentum and cumulative volume indicators and even a bearish crossover of short-term moving averages. That’s bad,” reports Michael Kahn for Barron’s. “However, it’s not lights-out bad. Based on the long-term chart, a 50% pullback of the 2016 advance would bring the index down to a nice support floor at last year’s high. It would also be near the long-term trend line drawn from the start of the bull market in 2009.”