As a whole, the consumer discretionary sector, which includes fashion apparel retailing and related suppliers and brands, has outperformed all other sectors tracked by the S&P in regard to second-quarter earnings.
The robust earnings is a rallying cry for at least one influential analyst who suggests traders jump on the sector. But within the retail segment, other analysts note ongoing volatility in stock values as companies post inconsistent results.
In an interview on CNBC, Thomas Lee, cofounder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, said it was a good time to get back into the consumer discretionary sector. Among his top picks is Michael Kors. In a separate report from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the second-quarter aggregate earnings for the sector is up 14.2 percent, which compares to a 1.5 percent decline in the consumer staples segment and a 86 percent drop in the energy sector.
The second largest year-over-year gain in aggregate earnings is the industrials sector at 13 percent, according to the S&P.
And traders have noticed the strong earnings. As a result the S&P Consumer Discretionary Sector Index is up 5.5 percent year-to-date. And the S&P Retailing Industry Group Index is up 26 percent for the year. But will the second half be as robust?
Ike Boruchow, senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, said in his morning note that the “retail space volatility continues.”
“Over the past few weeks we have seen our group become crowded with high [second-quarter] expectations, re-rate lower on the potential of slower performance and weak second-half outlooks, all to finally charge back in full force on the heels of better results and guidance – primarily in the department store space,” he said. “This is eerily similar to what we witnessed during [the first-quarter earnings] season when our group rallied 25 percent off the lows only to fall 15 percent in the coming weeks as sentiment around the direction of underlying fundamentals shifted back and forth.”
In a separate report from Telsey Advisory Group, the research analysts were more bullish on the second half. In their report to clients, the analysts said at the beginning of the month they noted “in our back-to-school preview that following a lackluster first quarter, we saw better momentum heading into the second half of the year, as the macro outlook firms, and wages, employment and housing data advance while markets hit all-time highs.”
“In the meantime, we saw expectations as somewhat modest and valuations as reasonable, creating a setup for upside potential,” the Telsey analysts added. “Two weeks later, our thesis mostly stands.”