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Is SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Launched on 06/19/2006, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Consumer Discretionary ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.

Market cap weighted indexes work great for investors who believe in market efficiency. They provide a low-cost, convenient and transparent way of replicating market returns.

On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.

Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

XRT is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $1.06 billion, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Consumer Discretionary ETFs. XRT, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index.

The S&P Retail Select Industry Index represents the retail sub-industry portion of the S&P TMI. The S&P TMI tracks all the U.S. common stocks listed on the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap exchanges. The Retail Index is a modified equal weight index.

Cost & Other Expenses

For ETF investors, expense ratios are an important factor when considering a fund's return; in the long-term, cheaper funds actually have the ability to outperform their more expensive cousins if all other things remain the same.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.35% for XRT, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.68%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

For XRT, it has heaviest allocation in the Consumer Discretionary sector --about 87.50% of the portfolio --while Consumer Staples and Energy round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Revolve Group Inc Class A (RVLV - Free Report) accounts for about 1.27% of the fund's total assets, followed by Buckle Inc. (BKE - Free Report) and Etsy Inc. (ETSY - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 11.64% of XRT's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has gained about 53.92% so far this year and is up roughly 93.80% in the last one year (as of 08/12/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $48.53 and $98.18.

XRT has a beta of 1.39 and standard deviation of 32.31% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 108 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


SPDR S&P Retail ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Consumer Discretionary ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

ProShares Online Retail ETF (ONLN - Free Report) tracks PROSHARES ONLINE RETAIL INDEX and the Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY - Free Report) tracks EQM Online Retail Index. ProShares Online Retail ETF has $935.46 million in assets, Amplify Online Retail ETF has $1.12 billion. ONLN has an expense ratio of 0.58% and IBUY charges 0.65%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Consumer Discretionary ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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