It could be an early sign that consumers might be less inclined to open their wallets this holiday season. According to the Commerce Department, U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months during the month of September, which could put retail exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on watch.

Retail sales fell 0.3% last month as consumers scaled back their spending on items, such as automobiles, building materials and online purchases. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting an increase of 0.3% in September.

“The drop back in retail sales in September was partly driven by a price-related fall back in gasoline prices, but the fact that underlying control group retail sales were unchanged provides another clear sign that consumption growth is slowing,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “We think real consumption rose by 2.5% annualised in the third quarter, down from 4.2% rise in the second, with overall GDP growth slowing to just 1.5% annualised, from 2.0%.”

Automotive sales were hit the hardest, falling 0.9% in September, which was the largest decline in the past eight months.

Given the latest retail data, here are three ETFs to watch:

  1. Amplify Online Retail ETF (NasdaqGM: IBUY): seeks investment results that generally correspond to the price and yield of the EQM Online Retail Index. The fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in global equity securities that comprise the index, which will primarily include common stocks and/or depositary receipts, such as ADRs and GDRs. The index seeks to measure the performance of global equity securities of publicly traded companies with significant revenue from the online retail business. The index methodology is designed to result in a portfolio that has the potential for capital appreciation.
  2. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEArca: XRT): seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the total return performance of an index derived from the retail segment of a U.S. total market composite index. In seeking to track the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index (the “index”), the fund employs a sampling strategy. It generally invests substantially all, but at least 80%, of its total assets in the securities comprising the index. The index represents the retail segment of the S&P Total Market Index (“S&P TMI”).
  3. ProShares Online Retail ETF (NYSEArca: ONLN): seeks investment results that track the performance of the ProShares Online Retail Index (the index). Under normal circumstances, the fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the index. The index is designed to measure the performance of publicly traded companies that principally sell online or through other non-store sales channels, such as through mobile or app purchases, rather than through “brick and mortar” store locations.

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