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3 summer picks from a surprise sector

Summertime and the livin’ is easy, at least if you’ve been long an index fund for the last five years. Those lucky few are sitting at all-time highs on the Dow (^DJIA) and S&P 500 (^GSPC) with the Nasdaq (^IXIC) lurking within striking distance of it’s 5,000 mark from way back in the dot.com bubble days.

Though most investors have lagged the market as whole Americans are still spending at a decent clip. According to a Gallup poll released on Monday morning the average American self-reported spending $91 a day in June. That’s down from May post-recession highs but $1 more than the same poll last year and more than 50% higher than June of 2009.

With spending strong but most investors lagging, MKM Partners chief market technician Jonathan Krinsky says investors should be looking to raise their spending power by getting long some of the lagging names in the consumer space.

“Most people wouldn’t actually think of the retail sector as hot in the summer,” says Krinsky who notes that merchants have lost an average of 3% in 2014 despite the rally. “Seasonally July, August and September is one of the best stretches to be in retail. All three of those months have 1% or more average gains over the last 10 years.”

Pick any reason you want for why that may be. Maybe traders are front-running back to school or it could be a statistical fluke. Regardless of why it happens the strength in retail stocks over the summer is just math. Here are three of Krinsky’s favorites in this left behind group.

Autozone (AZO)

Autozone has actually been holding its own this year, led by strong auto industry sales and a huge earnings beat at the beginning of February. Since then it’s been nothing, however. Krinsky likes the base as a trade set-up.

Macy’s (M)

The king of department stores has had roughly the same narrative as AZO: big gains early in the year followed by nothing. As thecompany showed two months ago it’s all about creating shareholder value. Whether through buybacks or organic sales or anything in between, Macy’s tends to hit its numbers. That could pay off, at least based on Krinsky’s view of the charts.

Nike (NKE)

Nike couldn’t get the stock to break out despite reporting huge quarterly results. Krinsky isn’t worried about either that or a “sell-the-news” reaction to the end of the World Cup. The chart looks great and as an operator it’s very hard to top Nike.

If the whole “shoe and apparel juggernaut” thing tops out for Nike, there’s always animation. Reviews of Nike’s one-off commerical for the World Cup have been barely constrained giddiness.