7 Consumer ETFs to Play the Big ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’

consumer etfs - 7 Consumer ETFs to Play the Big ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’

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By now, it should be old news that Congress passed a massive tax cut at the end of last year. But amid all the paperwork and drudgery of filing your actual tax returns this spring, you may have forgotten what that means for the broader U.S. economy.

Namely, it means bigger returns for millions of Americans — and those returns are sure to translate into bigger spending.

Some reports estimate that one in five Americans waits until the last two weeks to file their taxes. And despite the extra windfall in 2018 that is likely to be the same this year. So that means the bulk of the stimulus provided by bigger tax return checks has yet to hit.

This is a great opportunity for investors looking to play consumer stocks before this big tax return spending spree. But what should you buy?

Well, many individual retail and consumer stocks are suffering right now thanks to specific problems in the age of e-commerce competition and trouble for brick-and-mortar merchants. The easiest option, then, is to simply buy Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) — but after AMZN stock has declined about 5% in the last two weeks and Big Tech is in the crosshairs, that trade may not be as profitable as it once was.

Instead, consider these seven consumer-focused ETFs as a way to play increased spending as Americans cash their tax return checks.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  


S&P Retail ETF (XRT)

The most straightforward way to play consumer spending is the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT), which consists of more than 80 of the biggest names in shopping.

Top holdings right now include a wide array of retailers including mall clothing store Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR), auto parts store AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) and even online merchant Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN).

The fund is a bit biased towards apparel, with the subsector making up about 26% of the portfolio, but this retail ETF spans a host of specialty retailers and big box stores as well. If you’re looking for a one-stop investment that will cover all corners of retail, XRT is it.

While the broader stock market has been in trouble lately, the XRT ETF has been hanging tough with a slight return year-to-date.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  

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Amplify Online Retail (IBUY)

Of course, much of the increased consumer spending this spring will be online and not at brick-and-mortar stores. So if you want to focus on e-commerce plays, then, consider the Amplify Online Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:IBUY).

A focused group of about 40 holdings that include big names like Amazon.com as well as up-and-comers like car-sales platform Carvana Co (NYSE:CVNA) and craft marketplace Etsy Inc (NASDAQ:ETSY) the fund has an interesting angle. 

This fund is up about 11% year-to-date in 2018 to handily perform the broader stock market, too.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  

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Source: Via Netflix

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Fund (XLY)

If you want to get a bit broader in your consumer investing strategy instead of buying one of these tactial funds, then consider the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLY). It’s a mashup of the biggest companies that rely on American spending.

Components include coffee queen Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) and streaming video company Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) as well as some of the more traditional shops and e-tailers that are listed in the above funds. After all, there are lots of ways spend money. This fund ensures you’ll have all your bases covered.

This is a particularly compelling strategy if you want to play the rise of the U.S. consumer across all fronts. And with the XLY fund up about 6% this year, the strategy already appears to be paying off.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  

iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF (IYC)

What if you don’t care so much about spending on tangible items, and instead want to play the tax return spending spree by focusing on less tangible things like food and entertainment? Then the iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF (NYSEARCA:IYC) is for you. This fund spans 168 unique companies including theme park and media giant Walt Disney Co (NYSEARCA:DIS) and fast-food icon McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD).

When you are looking for consumer opportunities, you may think about stores first, but service providers like DIS and MCD are great examples of where this tax return windfall may wind up. And with the IYC ETF up about 5% year-to-date in 2018, there’s already some decent success here to build on.

These service providers are an important part of the American economy — and your portfolio.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  

Spirited Funds Whiskey & Spirits ETF (WSKY)

One of the biggest sources of U.S. consumer spending is bars and alcoholic beverages, and you can bet that the first place many Americans will be headed with their tax refund is to the local liquor store.

As such, the Spirited Funds ETFMG Whiskey & Spirits ETF (NYSEARCA:WSKY) is a tiny but quirky play that’s worth a look. Holdings include Diageo plc (ADR) (NYSE:DEO), the brand behind Johnny Walker whisky and Captain Morgan’s rum, as well as Absolut vodka purveyor Pernod Ricard (OTCMKTS:PDRDY).

With consumer tastes broadly trending towards spirits instead of once-popular beers, it may be a profitable bet to invest in continued growth for this booming sector regardless of this short-term trend. But tax season give you a good excuse to stake out a position in this fund now.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  


Source: Shutterstock

Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary (RCD)

With so many options out there within retail, it may be difficult to decide where to focus your consumer investment. That’s where the Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEARCA:RCD) comes in. This fund contains many of the same name as other funds on this list, except it is formulated to weight each one of its 80-some holdings as equally as possible.

Sure, the stocks rise and fall a little and eventually take up a bit more or less in the portfolio over time. But regular rebalancing corrects that, and tries to keep the positions all at about 1.3% share each.

This ETF’s approach allows you a truly diversified way to play U.S. consumers. You may not hit a homerun this way, but it’s a truly diversifed approach to the consumer sector.

7 Consumer ETFs for the ‘Tax Return Spending Spree’:  

Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares (RETL)

Really want to go all-in on consumers? Well supercharge your investments with the Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares ETF (NYSEARCA:RETL) that aims to deliver three times the daily returns of a typical retail ETF. It is a play on the same big names as many of these other funds, including mall stores like Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), but in a much more aggressive way.

This is obviously a play only for bold investors, because while the RETL fund will deliver three times the gains on good days… it also goes down three times as fast on the bad ones.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2018/03/consumer-etfs-tax-return-spending/.

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