Chartists can also compare the performance of the consumer discretionary sector to the consumer staples sector for clues on the economy. Stocks in the consumer discretionary sector represent products that are optional. These industry groups include apparel retailers and produces, shoe retailers and produces, restaurants and autos. Stocks in the consumer staples sector represent products that are necessary, such as soap, toothpaste, groceries, beverages and medicine. The consumer discretionary sector tends to outperform when the economy is buoyant and growing. This sector underperforms when the economy is struggling or contracting.
Chartists can compare the performance of these two with a simple ratio chart of the Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY) divided by the Consumer Staples SPDR (XLP). The chart above shows this ratio with the S