(Updated for comment on consumer sentiment.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This has been a profitable year to invest in consumer-goods stocks and 2012 may be too, at least for those that have been beaten down.
Consumer-goods shares have generated the second-best returns in the S&P 500 Index this year, rising 11%. Apparel company VF Corp. (VFC), which owns the North Face and Lee brands, is the top gainer at 65%. Tobacco companies and food producers also led the benchmark index.
Household-goods and home-construction companies were the poorest performers, increasing only 3%, in line with the broader S&P 500. That's because of the slump in the real estate market. In fact, the biggest laggard in the index was Whirlpool (WHR), the maker of refrigerators, and washer and dryers.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV