These 4 ETFs Are Outpacing the Broader Stock Market

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 index remains close to its all-time high, but four exchange-traded funds that track major stock market sectors are outperforming that broad index so far this year. We'll examine how to trade these ETFs using technical analysis.

The four ETFs are the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV), the Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLB), the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK).

The S&P 500 closed Thursday at 2121.10 on Thursday for a gain of 3% year to date. This puts the index just 0.2% below its all-time intraday high of 2125.92 set on April 27.

But all four of the sector ETFs we're examining have year-to-date gains of more than 5%. Here are their performance measures, daily charts and the key levels at which to buy on weakness and to sell on strength. Keep in mind that although these are the leaders among major sector ETS, they may not continue to lead in the months ahead.

Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund had a close of $74.11 on Thursday, up 7.6% year to date, but this ETF is 2.5% below its all-time intraday high of $76.01 set on March 30.

The health care ETF is above its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages of $73.08 and $68.39, respectively. The 200-day simple moving average was tested on Oct. 16, when the average was $59.89.

The weekly chart (not shown) will shift to negative if the ETF has a weekly close below its key weekly moving average of $73.23. This moving average will be rising each week, and the ETF has a momentum reading of 62.43, down from 65.69 last Friday.

Investors looking to buy the health care ETF should place a good-till-canceled limit order to purchase the ETF if it drops to $53.44, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015.

Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good-till-canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $76.27, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.

A key level on technical charts of $72.10 should be a magnet until the end of June.

Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund had a close of $51.26 on Thursday up 5.5% year to date. This ETF set an all-time intraday high of $52.22 on Feb. 25 and is 1.8% below the high.

The materials ETF is above its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages of $49.95 and $49.34, respectively. The materials ETF has been trading back and forth around its 200-day simple moving average since Oct. 2, when the average was $47.96.

The weekly chart (not shown) stays positive as long as weekly closes are above its key weekly moving average of $50.52. This moving average will be rising each week and the momentum reading rose to 66.43 this week from 60.87 last week.

Investors looking to buy the materials ETF should place a good-till-canceled limit order to purchase the ETF if it drops to $44.15, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.

Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good-till-canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $53.98, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.

Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund had a close of $75.98 on Thursday, up 5.3% year to date. This ETF set an all-time intraday high of $77.88 on April 27 and is 2.4% below the high.

The consumer discretionary ETF is above its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages of $75.94 and $71.05, respectively, and has been above its 200-day simple moving average since Oct. 30 when the average was $65.87.

The weekly chart (not shown) will shift to negative if the ETF has a weekly close below its key weekly moving average of $75.97. This moving average is on the rise, but the momentum reading of 75.85 has declined from 83.07 at last week's close.

Investors looking to buy the consumer discretionary ETF should place a good-till-canceled limit order to purchase the ETF if it drops to $54.76, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015.

Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good-till-canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $77.06, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of June.

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