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

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

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.

There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.

These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of such characteristics.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

XRT is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $890.75 million, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Consumer Discretionary ETFs. This particular fund, 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.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.35%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

XRT's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 0.71%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

For XRT, it has heaviest allocation in the Consumer Discretionary sector --about 86.60% of the portfolio --while Consumer Staples and Industrials round out the top three.

Taking into account 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) .

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

Performance and Risk

So far this year, XRT has added about 59.14%, and is up roughly 93.71% in the last one year (as of 11/05/2021). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $53.50 and $100.75.

The fund has a beta of 1.35 and standard deviation of 32.50% for the trailing three-year period, which makes XRT a medium risk choice in this particular 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 $871.39 million in assets, Amplify Online Retail ETF has $896.77 million. 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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