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4 Sector ETFs & Stocks to Shine Despite Soft April Retail Sales

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Retail sales in the United States were unchanged in April 2021, falling shy of market expectations of a 1% increase. This follows an upwardly revised 10.7% uptick in March when most households received the first round of stimulus checks.

Consumer spending makes up about 70% of U.S. economic activity and thus gives a clear picture of the direction in which the economy is moving. The latest retail sales data thus indicates tough comparison. Analysts are expecting an uptick in sales in the coming months.

Below we highlight a few areas and the related ETFs that benefited despite the downbeat retail sales for the month of April.

Winning Sectors


Spending at motor vehicles & parts dealers gained 2.9% sequentially and 104.5% year over year.

OReilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY - Free Report)

The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is a leading specialty retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the United States.

First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto ETF (CARZ - Free Report)

The underlying NASDAQ OMX Global Auto Index is designed to track the performance of the largest and most-liquid companies engaged in the manufacturing of automobiles.

Food services & Drinking Places

Sales of this category gained 3.0% sequentially in March and 116.8% year over year.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI - Free Report)

Zacks Rank #2 Darden Restaurants is one of the largest casual dining restaurant operators worldwide.

AdvisorShares Restaurant ETF (EATZ - Free Report)

This ETF is active and does not track a benchmark. It gives exposure to companies that derive at least 50% of their net revenues from the restaurant business (read: Time for Restaurant ETF on Solid Q1 Earnings, Fundamentals?)

Electronics and Appliances

Sales of this category rose 1.2% sequentially. Year over year, sales were up 139%. Consumers’ interest in buying electronics products should keep demand for semiconductors high.

The Aarons Company Inc. (AAN - Free Report)

The Zacks Rank #2 company is an omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions.

 VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH - Free Report)

The underlying MVIS US Listed Semiconductor 25 Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in semiconductor production and equipment. The fund charges 35 bps in fees.

Health & Personal Care Stores

Online and mail-order retail trade gained 1% sequentially in March and 24.7% year over year.

Herbalife LTD. (HLF - Free Report)

Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is a global network marketing company offering a range of science-based weight management products, nutritional supplements and personal care products intended to support weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP - Free Report)

The underlying Consumer Staples Select Sector Index seeks to provide an effective representation of the consumer staples sector of the S&P 500 Index. The fund charges 12 bps in fees (read: ETF Asset Report of April).

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