Consumer staples products are those that consumers are unwilling or unable to cut out of their budgets, regardless of their financial difficulties or the state of the economy. The category includes products like food and beverages, household goods, and hygiene products, as well as alcohol and tobacco. These types of goods are considered basic necessities that consumers will buy in good or bad economic times. Thus, consumer staples stocks tend to be relatively more stable and less volatile compared to other segments of the equity markets. Investors looking for broad exposure to the consumer staples sector might look to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) focused on this area.
There are 11 consumer staples ETFs that trade in the U.S., excluding inverse and leveraged ETFs as well as funds with less than $50 million in assets under management (AUM). The consumer staples sector, as measured by the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector Index, has outperformed the broader market over the past 12 months, with a total return of 20.3% compared to the S&P 500’s total return of 18.7%, as of Jan. 28, 2022. The best-performing consumer staples ETF, based on performance over the past year, is the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP). We examine the three best consumer staples ETFs below. All numbers below are as of Jan. 28, 2022.
Performance Over One-Year: 18.6%Expense Ratio: 0.12%Annual Dividend Yield: 2.48%Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 15,222,445Assets Under Management: $14.8 billionInception Date: Dec. 16, 1998Issuer: State Street
XLP invests in companies that are engaged in the development and production of consumer products, including beverages, food, tobacco, drugs, and household and personal products. Focused on consumer staples companies, the ETF provides investors with exposure to a segment of the U.S. equity market that may perform well during an economic downturn. It follows a blended strategy, investing in a mix of growth and value stocks of mostly large cap companies. The fund’s top three holdings are Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), a multinational consumer goods company; PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), a multinational food, snack, and beverage company; and Coca-Cola Co. (KO), a multinational beverage company.
Performance Over One-Year: 17.9%Expense Ratio: 0.63%Annual Dividend Yield: 1.37%Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 37,555Assets Under Management: $313.7 millionInception Date: May 8, 2007Issuer: First Trust
FXG tracks the StrataQuant Consumer Staples Index, which gauges the performance of a group of around 40 of the highest-ranked consumer staples stocks from the Russell 1000 according to a set of growth and value factors. The ETF provides exposure to food producers, drug and grocery stores, and beverage, tobacco, and personal care products companies. Most of its holdings are food producers. The fund follows a blended strategy of investing in a mix of value and growth stocks with a range of market capitalizations. Its top three holdings are Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM), a multinational food processing and commodities trading company; Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG), a consumer packaged goods holding company; and Bunge Ltd. (BG), an agribusiness and food company.
Performance Over One-Year: 17.0%Expense Ratio: 0.08%Annual Dividend Yield: 2.34%Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 116,100Assets Under Management: $935.4 millionInception Date: Oct. 21, 2013Issuer: Fidelity
FSTA seeks to track the MSCI USA IMI Consumer Staples Index, which gauges the performance of consumer staples stocks within the U.S. equity market. The ETF provides exposure to a broad range of consumer staples companies. Its biggest exposures are of companies within the following industries: food and staples retailing, beverages, food, and household products. The fund holds primarily large cap value stocks, but it also includes some mid caps as well as small and micro caps. FSTA’s top three holdings are Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo.
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