Wall Street snapped a three-week winning streak amid uncertainty over the global growth and inflation fears. This is especially true, as the cost of living in the United States has surged the most in 13 years, leading to a spike in inflation. Consumer prices increased 5.4% year over year in June, representing the biggest monthly gain since August 2008 (read:
Consumer Price Sees Biggest Jump in 13 Years: ETFs to Gain). Meanwhile, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been rising in all 50 U.S. states. Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%, with most of the surge occurring in counties with below average vaccination rates. The seven-day-average number of daily cases is now more than 26,000, more than twice its June low of around 11,000 cases. Weak consumer survey data also added to the chaos last week. Consumer sentiment as measured by the University of Michigan dropped the lowest since February in early June. Notably, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 shed 0.5% and 1%, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.9%. Against such a backdrop, a few ETFs have gained last week. Here are five of them: Utilities Select Sector SPDR ( XLU Quick Quote XLU - Free Report) – Up 2.6% Being a low-beta sector, utility is relatively protected from large swings (ups and downs) in the stock market and is thus considered a defensive investment or a safe haven amid economic or political turmoil. With AUM of $11.7 billion, this fund provides exposure to a small basket of 28 securities by tracking the Utilities Select Sector Index. It is primarily concentrated on the top firm with 16.3% share while the other firms hold not more than 8.7% of the assets. Electric utilities takes the top spot in terms of sectors at 63.5%, closely followed by multi utilities (30%). The product charges 12 bps in annual fees and sees a massive volume of around 10.8 million shares on average. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund ( XLP Quick Quote XLP - Free Report) - Up 1.3% Consumer staples products are defensive in nature and see steady demand even during an economic downturn due to their low level of correlation with economic cycles. XLP is the most popular consumer staples ETF with AUM of $11.3 billion and follows the Consumer Staples Select Sector Index. The fund charges 12 bps in fees per year from investors and trades in heavy volume of nearly 10 million shares a day. In total, the fund holds about 32 securities in its basket. From a sector perspective, beverages takes the largest share at 25.3% while household products, food and staples retailing, and food products account for a double-digit allocation each. XLP has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook (read: 5 ETFs to Win On Delta Variant's Surge). Legg Mason Small-Cap Quality Value ETF ( SQLV Quick Quote SQLV - Free Report) – Up 1.2% High-quality ETFs reduce volatility when compared to plain vanilla funds and hold up rather well during market swings. This ETF offers exposure to high-quality, U.S.-traded small-cap stocks with relatively low valuations by tracking the Royce Small-Cap Quality Value Index. It holds 266 stocks in its basket with key holdings in financials, health care, industrials, consumer discretionary and information technology. The product has gathered $16.8 million in its asset base while trades in volume of 2,000 shares a day on average. It charges 62 bps in annual fees. U.S. Real Estate ETF ( JRE Quick Quote JRE - Free Report) – Up 0.9% Higher rents due to shortage of homes are driving the real estate sector higher. Additionally, a resurgence in the COVID-19 cases led to investors’ flight to a defensive sector like real estate. JRE, which newly debuted in the space last month, is an actively managed ETF seeking compelling outperformance by investing in REITs and real estate related businesses. The fund holds 21 stocks in its basket and charges 65 bps in annual fees. It trades in an average daily volume of 7,000 shares (read: 5 Reasons Why REIT ETFs Are Surging). Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF ( SPLV Quick Quote SPLV - Free Report) – Up 0.8% Low-volatility ETFs have the potential to outpace the broader market in bearish conditions or in an uncertain environment while providing significant protection to the portfolio. These funds include more stable stocks that have experienced the least price movement in their portfolio. SPLV provides exposure to stocks with the lowest realized volatility over the past 12 months. It tracks the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index and holds 103 securities in its basket. Consumer staples, utilities, healthcare and industrials make up the top four sectors with a double-digit allocation each. SPLV has amassed $8 billion in its asset base and trades in a heavy volume of around 2.8 million shares a day on average. It charges 25 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook (read: Growth Worries Spark Appeal for Low-Risk ETFs).