In early 2018, there’s no sign that the momentum the U.S. economy built late last year is dissipating: The labor market continues to improve, tax cuts are in effect and global demand is healthy. These factors are helping to support U.S. consumer spending growth, which has been strengthening in recent months. Although many areas of the market stand to benefit from greater consumer spending, consumer staples stocks may lag the broader market. Historically, when consumer spending growth has accelerated, the consumer staples sector has lagged the S&P 500 due to the presence of lower-growth, less economically sensitive companies in the sector. Fundamental research may help investors identify select companies in the consumer staples sector with the opportunity to generate better-than-market returns.
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