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Top 10 Retail ETFs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Our goal in this profile is to help investors wade through the many competing ETF offerings available. Using our long experience as an ETF publication , and nearly 40 years in the investment business, we can help select those ETFs that matter and may or may not be repetitive. The result is a more manageable list of issues from which to view and make selections.

One strange thing you might discover is some popular ETFs have holdings and weightings which are surprising and not intuitive despite good looking charts. For many investors, knowing what you own or wish to own is important.

Retail and related consumer issues (excluding Consumer Staples) can offer dramatic examples of what's under the hood and perhaps offer some surprises.

Let's look at a variety of these ETFs with their top holdings and see if from a fundamental view they meet the test of what you think you'd find under the hood. Then we'll view current technical market conditions and trends as they apply to each.

ProShares and DirexionShares have leveraged long and inverse issues for those investors wishing to hedge or speculate.

RTH (Retail ML HOLDRs) is not an ETF but a trust and was launched in May 2001. A move is currently in progress for Van Eck to assume control of these issues and convert them to an ETF structure. This would most likely alter some of the holdings and methodologies. As a trust the constituents or holdings don't change, unless there's a buyout or other event changing the component, but weightings can change over time based on market prices. The holdings below make the most sense intuitively when you think retail. AUM (Assets under Management) equal $124M and average daily trading volume, 1M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend was unavailable and YTD return was 1.46%.

RTH Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

Data as of September 2011
  1. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT): 17.55%
  2. Home Depot, Inc. (HD): 14.11%
  3. Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): 11.84%
  4. Target Corporation (TGT): 7.54%
  5. Walgreen Company (WAG): 7.26%
  6. Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW): 6.99%
  7. Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): 5.55%
  8. TJX Companies (TJX): 4.64%
  9. CVS Caremark Corporation (CVS): 4.57%
  10. Gap, Inc. (GPS): 3.39%

XRT (SPDR Retail ETF) follows the S&P Retail Select Industry Index which is an equally weighted index. The fund was launched in June 2006. The expense ratio is .35%. AUM equal $480M and average daily trading volume is 11M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend was $.22 making the current yield .58% and YTD return of 3.52%.

XRT Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

Data as of September 2011
  1. Shutterfly, Inc. (SFLY): 1.60%
  2. Supervalu Inc. (SVU): 1.56%
  3. Limited Brands, Inc. (LTD): 1.36%
  4. Gamestop Corporation A (GME): 1.36%
  5. Abercrombie & Fitch Company A (ANF): 1.35%
  6. Finish Line (FINL): 1.24%
  7. Priceline.com, Inc. (PCLN): 1.23%
  8. Buckle, Inc. (BKE): 1.23%
  9. Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. (VSI): 1.22%
  10. Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): 1.22%

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