Make the Ultimate Consumer Bet with the Gaming ETF

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Despite worries over higher taxes and the sequester dulling consumer confidence, many have continued to spend in droves. In fact, consumer confidence remains at an elevated level, while retail sales recently came in above expectations, further underscoring the broad consumer recovery.

Many investors have sought out consumer discretionary stocks as a way to ride this wave higher, focusing in on firms in the retail space for exposure. This has been a pretty solid strategy so far in 2013 as top retail ETFs like XRT and RTH have powered ahead and are now leading the market higher.

Besides the retail segment though, another corner of the discretionary market could also be an interesting choice, the gaming space. Casinos and related industries are arguably the most discretionary of all companies, and thus can be great picks during broad market upswings and rising consumer confidence (read Inside the Top Ranked Consumer ETF).

We have already begun to see the beginning of this trend so far in 2013, as many important names in the industry have surged to start the year. And with positive trends continuing in the consumer space, some believe that this is just the first leg of the gaming industry’s resurgence.

Zacks Rank and How to Play

One can certainly be optimistic about the gaming space in the near term given the positive Zacks Industry Rank for the segment. Currently, the Rank comes in at 55 out of 261, meaning that it is in the top 25% of all industries, suggesting that good days could continue to be ahead for the space.

Yet while investors can certainly buy up a few top Ranked stocks in the segment, a more holistic approach could be to utilize ETFs. This technique provides broad exposure across the gaming market around the world and thus could be a lower risk way to target the gaming market (see Time to Bet on the Gaming ETF?).

Fortunately for investors seeking to go this route, there is one ETF in the segment that can offer up great exposure to the entire gaming market, the Market Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK). Below, we highlight this interesting ETF in greater detail for those seeking to make a concentrated—but diversified—play on the solid trends taking place in the casino world, and the general consumer recovery:

Gaming ETF in Focus

BJK tracks the Market Vectors Global Gaming Index, a broad benchmark that looks to give investors exposure to the overall performance of the global gaming industry. The product holds just under 50 stocks in its basket, charging investors 65 basis points a year in fees.

The fund hasn’t really caught on yet with investors, as it has just $50 million in total assets under management. This leaves volume a little light—and thus somewhat wide bid ask spreads—but investors should note that it pays a decent yield for a discretionary sector play at 1.5% (also see Play a Consumer Recovery with These Discretionary ETFs).

In terms of exposure, the fund is quite diversified from a country look as the U.S. takes the top spot with just under 30% of assets. Rounding out the top five is an eclectic mix with China (24.5%), the UK (14.1%), Australia (14.1%), and Malaysia (8.1%) filling up the top spots.

For individual holdings, the fund is relatively concentrated given that it has almost 50 stocks in its basket, as over half the assets are in the top 10. Furthermore, Las Vegas Sands (LVS)—and its Hong Kong version—account for nearly 16% of assets, while Genting—when combining the Singapore and Malaysian listings--  make up nearly 9.5% of assets, and Wynn (WYNN) takes up another 7.2%.

Performance and Bottom Line

The ETF has been an absolute star performer as of late, surging markedly in the past month or so. Now, BJK is up about 19% year-to-date, and roughly 36% over the past one year time frame (see Invest like Warren Buffett with These ETFs).

While this continues the recent trend for the product, investors should note that up until recently, retail and broad consumer stocks were handily beating BJK in terms of performance. However, we have begun to see a reversal in the past few months—with gaming leading the others higher—so now still might be a good time to get in on this surging industry for discretionary exposure, assuming the consumer recovery continues.

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