Three ways to play retail’s busy earnings week

The earnings calendar is packed with retailers this week.

Among the top names, Home Depot and Macy’s will report on Tuesday, Lowe’s and L Brands on Wednesday, and Foot Locker on Friday.

These three ETFs – the XRT SPDR retail ETF, the RTH VanEck Retail ETF, and the IBUY Amplify Online Retail ETF – give exposure to the retail trade, but each carries its own risks and rewards.

The RTH ETF, for example, is market cap weighted and holds the 25 largest retailers, most notably Amazon. At 19 percent of the total weighting, any moves in Amazon has a major impact on the entire ETF.

It “has been a great play for a couple of years until the last six months when Amazon has run into some trouble,” Tim Seymour, CIO of Seymour Asset Management, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday. “What I like about RTH, though, is you have some good broadlines exposure. You’ve got Home Depot, you’ve got Walmart.”

Retailers including Lowe’s,, and Costco have led gains over the past month, while Amazon, Macy’s and Kohl’s have lagged the ETF.

Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETFs and co-host of “Shark Tank,” says equal weighted ETFs such as the XRT and IBUY ETFs offer more stability than market cap-weighted ETFs like the RTH.

“I’m against anything that concentrates even one name because of the volatility of that,” O’Leary said on “ETF Edge” on Monday. “I much prefer equal weighted and we have that opportunity here in the XRT and so I would say that might outperform this year because Amazon isn’t the only game in town in retail.”

The XRT ETF, which does not hold Amazon, has outperformed the RTH ETF so far this year and seen nearly triple its gains just this month.

The IBUY ETF, meanwhile, offers investors a chance to invest in smaller companies with exposure to the growing online retail space.

“It’s pure online exposure in a world where online is still only 10 percent of essentially what retail spending is. That’s why that’s outperformed over the last six to nine months,” said Seymour. “Even though Etsy and are not Walmart and Target, that’s what a lot of people want exposure to.”

The IBUY ETF, which holds companies such as Alibaba and eBay, is up nearly 20 percent so far this year. Its top performers this month include Wayfair and Stitch Fix.


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