Amazon has also created a new market for online books through its Kindle reader. Consumers who use the Kindle can pay less for the same books and the company reported that sales of digital books surpassed those of hardcover books for the first time in the previous three months.
Netflix, also benefiting from shifting consumer trends, has created a new market with flat-rate pricing for movie rentals, and has recently taken it a step further by offering movie streams online. Netflix-ready TVs and devices allow customers to easily stream movies to their living room. gSome consumers have also decided that Netflix's monthly cost is lower than their cable bill, and with lots of TV shows available in the company's library, have substituted one for the other.
The consumer discretionary ETFs not only have exposure to discount retailers and online consumer discretionary companies but also cover the broader retail industry. This has been a hindrance for XRT and FXD as consumers have not returned to their pre-recession consumption patterns.
For FDN, however, the story is different. The fund holds 7% of assets in Amazon and 3% in Netflix. It also has 5% in eBay (EBAY) and almost 3% in Expedia (EXPE). The latter firm reports earnings next week and it will be interesting to see how their outlook differs from Marriott on leisure travelers.Besides holding Internet consumer discretionary companies, FDN also holds the backbone and service companies of the Internet, such as Juniper Networks (JNPR), Akamai (AKAM) and Verisign (VRSN). As business spending picks up first, these companies are likely to see improvement as well. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.