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4 ETFs & Stocks to Dodge Harvey's Ire and Retail Sales Slump

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The blow that Hurricane Harvey dealt is starting to make itself felt on U.S. economic data points. U.S. retail sales suddenly dropped in August as the storm and flood wreaked havoc on motor vehicle purchases, which could subdue consumer spending in the third quarter (read: Hurricane Harvey Puts These ETF Areas in Focus).

Retail sales in the United States dropped 0.2% sequentially in August 2017, falling shy of market expectations of a 0.1% rise. This followed a downwardly revised 0.3% gain in July instead of the initially reported 0.6% increase. August marked the first decline in retail sales since February. Five out of 13 major retail categories retreated in August while the other segments grew.

Auto sales seem to be the worst victim, having fallen 1.6%, thanks to Hurricane Harvey. Excluding autos, retail sales nudged up 0.2%. Year over year, retail sales have jumped 3.2%.

Below we recommend a few ETFs & stocks that have managed to stay afloat, even amid sluggish sales.

Gasoline Stations

Sales rose 2.5% in gasoline stations. Harvey has thumped a quarter of oil production from the Gulf of Mexico and over 10% of U.S. refining capacity. Several refineries have shut down their operations. This sparked off concerns about oversupply in U.S. crude. Demand for the finished product gasoline rose (read: Gasoline ETF Jumps on Storm Harvey).

This benefited the fund United States Gasoline Fund (UGA - Free Report) . Coming to stocks,Par Pacific Holdings Inc. (PARR - Free Report) can be a good pick. The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 37%. The company's operating segment consists of refining, retail and logistics.


As Hurricane Harvey devastated several houses, the need for rearranging homes must be high. This necessity must have boosted demand for companies that operate as retailers of home improvement products. Sales of furniture rose 0.4% in August. Stocks like Home Depot (HD - Free Report) and funds like First Trust Nasdaq Retail ETF (FTXD - Free Report) should benefit from this.

Miscellaneous Store Retailers

The segment rose 1.4% in the month. ETFs like SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT - Free Report) and Five Below Inc. (FIVE - Free Report) are to benefit from this trend. Five Below is a specialty value retailer offering merchandise for teen and pre-teen customers in the United States

Notably, non-store retailers lost about 1.1% in the month (read: 6 Reasons to Dump Amazon & Related ETF Strategies).

Food & Beverage

Food and beverages and food services and drinking places, each saw a 0.3% sales rise. Funds like PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage ETF (PBJ - Free Report) and USCF Restaurant Leaders and stocks like The Chefs' Warehouse Inc. (CHEF - Free Report) should be good picks.Chefs' Warehouse Holdings, LLC is a distributor of specialty food products in the United States.

Restaurants like Domino's Pizza Inc (DPZ - Free Report) , Famous Dave's of America Inc. and Bob Evans Farms Inc. should also be considered for gains. Most of these stocks are top ranked.

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