Coca-Cola Stock Has Been Struggling. The Tables Have Turned for Consumer Staples.

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Coca-Cola stock has underperformed the market this year.

Charly Triballeau/Getty Images

Coca-Cola

stock rounded out a lackluster eight-day stretch of trading Friday, weighed down by investor concerns over the consumer staple sector.

Throughout 2022, consumer staples were a safe haven for investors seeking refuge from market volatility and high inflation. The

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund
(ticker: XLP) lost 3.3% last year, an impressive performance given the

S&P 500
declined 19%. Coca-Cola (KO) helped drive the staples ETF higher, gaining 7.4% in 2022.

That dynamic has flip-flopped this year as inflation and recessionary fears started to ease. The consumer staples ETF is down 4% this year, while the broader S&P 500 has gained 16% and the

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund
(XLY) is up 30%.

“Safety sectors, such as utilities and staples, remained notably weak during the market pullback in August and have yet to show any meaningful technical evidence of improving despite becoming oversold,” said Robert Sluymer, technical strategist at RBC Wealth Management, in a Tuesday note. Coca-Cola is illustrative of the category’s weak performance, Sluymer added.

Coca-Cola did not immediately respond to Barron’s request for comment.

But there might be other factors at play, too. Coke is down 8.3% this year, worse than the broader consumer staples sector.

Coke stock ended Friday unchanged from Thursday at $58.33, snapping what would’ve been an eight-day losing streak. It was, however, the lowest close…

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