Retailers Finish Strong

Retail stocks had a strong holiday season, outpacing the broader market in the 4th quarter and for the full year.

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The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) is up 16% in Q4 and 36% year-to-date.  That compares to 6% and 13% respectively for the S&P 500.

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales were expected to grow 3.3% from last year for a total of $451 billion.  In November, retail sales grew 6.8% over 2009.

The $700 million XRT holds 66 retail stocks and tracks an equal-weighted index.  Top portfolio positions including Jo-Ann StoresOffice DepotRent A Center andWalgreen.

The fund’s expense ratio is 0.35% and dividend yield is 1.15%.

Other retail ETFs include the PowerShares Retail Portfolio (PMR) and the FTSE NAREIT Retail Index Fund (RTL).