Consumer ETFs Worth Watching

RELATED QUOTES

SymbolPriceChange
XLY87.02+0.10
XLP55.03-0.25
XRT44.03+0.31

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the past few weeks, investor confidence in the United States has been pestered relentlessly by the macroeconomic drama facing regions like the European Union and China. These crises have taken their toll on various corners of the marketplace, but one area that has managed to hold up relatively well throughout these tumultuous weeks has been the consumer.

The discretionary corner of the consumer sector has seen particularly impressive action; over the most recent one-month period, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR XLY has managed to maintain its footing in positive territory, even as most other SPDR sector funds linked to cyclical market segments have slid to losses.

Given this recent show of resilience and the earnings calendar for the week ahead, funds designed to target top U.S. consumer destinations will likely be some of the more interesting products to watch. I encourage investors to wait until the festivities subside; but in the event that the earnings action goes smoothly, some of these products may even prove to be attractive options for those looking for a welcomed respite from the market's global macroeconomic challenges.

4 Stocks That Are Real Sleepers in 2012 >>

Consumer ETFs have been forced to prove themselves throughout the opening months of 2012. They have managed to carve out leadership roles in recent weeks, but since the start of the year, the mood toward XLY and the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR XLP has been under pressure. Whereas they stood up as beacons of stability during the choppy second half of 2011, a weak spate of economic data seen at the start of the year led some to question whether the ride was over for the consumer.

These fears have proven to be short lived, however, and in recent weeks, the data have pointed to signs of strength. As a whole, last week's batch of economic news was lackluster at best.

One clear point of optimism, however, came last Monday, when investors learned that retail sales in March jumped 0.8%. In addition to beating analysts' estimates, this marked the second consecutive month of increases.

3 Short-Squeeze Stocks for Earnings Season >>

While the data have indicated a turnaround, high energy prices have remained a persistent challenge. Fortunately, even added pressure at the pump has failed to stem consumer buying habits or derail the sector. While worth monitoring, investors looking to the near term should avoid letting fuel prices dissuade them from venturing into this relatively strong market corner.

Discretionary-focused funds like XLY and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT may be in store for the strongest upside action, in the event that the clouds looming over the global marketplace clear. Unfortunately, the likelihood of a bump-free ride up is slim. Aggressive investors may want to consider trying their luck here, but those wary of turbulence will likely be better off venturing into the inherently safer staples.

The XLP provides investors with one-stop-shop exposure to top staples names. Nevertheless, the fund needs to be approached carefully. Top holdings like Proctor & Gamble PG , Coca-Cola KO and Phillip Morris PM represent the bulk of the fund's portfolio and will therefore direct much of its day-to-day action.

Viva Lost Wages: 8 Casino Stocks That Are on a Roll >>

In addition, with earnings season now in full force, many of these large positions may see an uptick in volatility. This week, for instance, Proctor & Gamble, PepsiCo PEP and Altria MO need to be monitored closely.

Investors will continue to face challenges on the road ahead as major global players combat against looming macroeconomic crises. While nerve-wracking, now is not the time to flee. There is still strength to be found in this market and with patience and a level head, it is possible to overcome these hurdles.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • How to put a number to “uncertainty” – and what it means for markets
    How to put a number to “uncertainty” – and what it means for markets Truewealth Publishing - 52 minutes ago

    Markets hate uncertainty. But lots of uncertainty – as there is now – doesn’t mean that markets won’t go up. Uncertainty is more subjective than (say) volatility, or stock market valuations, or the price performance of assets. To most people, … More »

  • Japan January industrial output falls 0.8 percent month/month - government
    Japan January industrial output falls 0.8 percent month/month - government Reuters - 53 minutes ago

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's industrial output unexpectedly fell 0.8 percent in January, posting the first decline in six months, government data showed on Tuesday. The month-on-month fall compared with a ... … More »

  • PHI Inc. reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 54 minutes ago

    The Lafayette, Louisiana-based company said it had a loss of $1.08 per share. The helicopter transportation company serving the oil and gas industry posted revenue of $144.9 million in the period. For ... … More »

  • Ensco beats 4Q profit forecasts Associated Press - 1 hour 4 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the London-based company said it had profit of 13 cents. Earnings, adjusted to account for discontinued operations and non-recurring gains, came to 9 cents per share. The results ... … More »

  • BWX beats 4Q profit forecasts Associated Press - 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Lynchburg, Virginia-based company said it had net income of 34 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and restructuring costs, came to 46 cents per share. The results ... … More »

  • AppFolio reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Santa Barbara, California-based company said it had a loss of 4 cents. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense, were less than 1 cent on a per-share basis. The property management ... … More »

  • Elio’s tiny car gets 84 mpg and costs only $7,300 — here’s what it was like
    Elio’s tiny car gets 84 mpg and costs only $7,300 — here’s what it was like Business Insider - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    Hollis Johnson Elio Motors has one of the … Continued The post Elio’s tiny car gets 84 mpg and costs only $7,300 — here’s what it was like appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Sun Hydraulics posts 4Q profit Associated Press - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    The Sarasota, Florida-based company said it had net income of 12 cents per share. The maker of screw-in hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds posted revenue of $49.9 million in the period. For the year, ... … More »

  • Medpace tops Street 4Q forecasts Associated Press - 1 hour 40 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Cincinnati-based company said it had a loss of less than 1 cent. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 35 cents per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations. ... … More »

  • Theravance Bio reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 1 hour 48 minutes ago

    The George Town Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands-based company said it had a loss of $1.36 per share. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks ... … More »

  • Integer beats Street 4Q forecasts Associated Press - 1 hour 58 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Frisco, Texas-based company said it had net income of 25 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and amortization costs, came to 87 cents per share. The results surpassed ... … More »

  • Kona Grill reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 2 hours 10 minutes ago

    The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company said it had a loss of $1.58 per share. Losses, adjusted for asset impairment costs, came to 39 cents per share. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. ... … More »

  • Stocks drift awaiting Trump tax plan details
    Stocks drift awaiting Trump tax plan details AFP News - 2 hours 11 minutes ago

    Wall Street and the major European indices drifted higher on Monday in advance of a major address by President Donald Trump, as investors in New York sent the Dow to a fresh record. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average crept up to close at a … More »

  • Business Highlights Associated Press - 2 hours 16 minutes ago

    ___ New highs for US stocks; Dow win streak longest since 1987 Wall Street notched another set of milestones as the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high for the 12th consecutive time, the ... … More »

  • Britain urges Malaysia to share evidence on Kim VX attack
    Britain urges Malaysia to share evidence on Kim VX attack AFP News - 2 hours 22 minutes ago

    Britain on Monday urged Malaysia to share evidence from the lethal VX nerve gas attack on Kim Jong-Un's half-brother with the United Nations, which could take action against North Korea. British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said information on the … More »

  • Watchdog agency warns of costly student loan data errors Associated Press - 2 hours 23 minutes ago

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday issued a warning to consumers to pay close attention to their personal information on record with student loan servicers as errors are popping up that ... … More »

  • Nutrisystem beats Street 4Q forecasts Associated Press - 2 hours 24 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based company said it had net income of 29 cents. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by ... … More »

  • Gaiam reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 2 hours 28 minutes ago

    The Louisville, Colorado-based company said it had a loss of 22 cents per share. Losses, adjusted to account for discontinued operations, came to 23 cents per share. The lifestyle media company posted ... … More »

  • Here’s the advice Bill Gates would give to his 19-year-old self
    Here’s the advice Bill Gates would give to his 19-year-old self Business Insider - 2 hours 29 minutes ago

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Bill Gates would tell his … Continued The post Here’s the advice Bill Gates would give to his 19-year-old self appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Essendant reports 4Q loss Associated Press - 2 hours 38 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Deerfield, Illinois-based company said it had a loss of 6 cents. Losses, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 2 cents per share. The workplace supplies distributor posted ... … More »

  • ICF misses Street 4Q forecasts Associated Press - 2 hours 40 minutes ago

    The Fairfax, Virginia-based company said it had profit of 65 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 76 cents per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The ... … More »

  • Nelnet posts 4Q profit Associated Press - 2 hours 42 minutes ago

    On a per-share basis, the Lincoln, Nebraska-based company said it had net income of $2.32. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.05 per share. The education services company posted revenue ... … More »

  • ServiceNow appoints former eBay executive as CEO Reuters - 2 hours 44 minutes ago

    ServiceNow Inc (NOW.N) said it had hired former eBay Inc (EBAY.O) executive John Donahoe to be chief executive, replacing longtime CEO Frank Slootman starting in April, a surprise move that sent shares of the enterprise software lower on Monday. … More »

  • How major US stock market indexes fared on Monday Associated Press - 2 hours 45 minutes ago

    U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Monday, nudging the Dow Jones industrial average to a record high for the 12th consecutive time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index also closed at an all-time high. The ... … More »

  • New highs for US stocks; Dow win streak longest since 1987
    New highs for US stocks; Dow win streak longest since 1987 Associated Press - 2 hours 47 minutes ago

    Wall Street notched another set of milestones Monday as the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high for the 12th consecutive time, the longest winning streak for the 30-company average in ... … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

    Market Data

    • Currencies
      Currencies
      NamePriceChange% Chg
      1.4055+0.0014+0.10%
      USDSGD=X
      1.4864+0.0001+0.01%
      EURSGD=X
      1.7473+0.0013+0.07%
      GBPSGD=X
      80.1910-0.032-0.04%
      SGDJPY=X
      5.5201-0.0054-0.10%
      SGDHKD=X
      3.1591-0.0019-0.06%
      SGDMYR=X
      9,504.5137+0.4902+0.01%
      SGDIDR=X
      4.8857-0.0046-0.09%
      SGDCNY=X
      1.0784+0.0009+0.08%
      AUDSGD=X
    • Commodities
      Commodities
      NamePriceChange% Chg
      1,253.00-5.80-0.46%
      GCJ17.CMX
      18.33-0.09-0.47%
      SIK17.CMX
      84.47-4.15-4.69%
      ^XAU
      2.690.00-0.15%
      HGK17.CMX
      54.12+0.07+0.13%
      CLJ17.NYM
    • Bonds
      Bonds
      TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
      1.87+0.07
      ^FVX
      2.37+0.05
      ^TNX
      2.99+0.03
      ^TYX