Inside the August 2014 Retail Report
Digging deeper, the overall sales figure received the biggest tailwind from the automotive sector, which saw sales growth of 1.5% in August, marking the biggest rise since March. Other sectors that saw growth were food, electronic, internet, and sporting goods retailers along with bars and restaurants.
The laggards in this month’s report were sales for general merchandise and department stores. Overall, retail sales have risen 5% in the past year; July sales were revised to 0.3% from being flat, and June sales were revised to 0.4% from 0.2%.
Mutual Funds on Watch: Consumer-Focused
|Fidelity Select Consumer Staples Portoflio
|Vanguard Consumer Discretionary
|Fidelity Select Consumer Discretionary Portoflio
|Fidelity Select Retailing Portfolio
|ICON Consumer Discretionary
In this current environment, consumer-focused stocks are regarded as a gauge for the overall pace of the recovery, as well as the health of the labor market; this is because the availability of jobs and wage levels play a key role in influencing consumer spending habits.
As such, today’s upbeat report serves as evidence that the recovery is indeed continuing to pick up steam.
The Bottom Line
Consumer staple stocks on the other hand are more defensive by nature, and less volatile, since they sell everyday household goods, which are more or less necessary for survival, regardless of the economic environment.
As a whole, consumer-focused mutual funds warrant a closer look from anyone looking diversify their portfolio’s equity component since this asset class can be utilized to generate current income as well as attractive capital gains at times.