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Some sectors or stocks can only be described as battlegrounds. Here, the bearish and bullish messages pull and push the sector/stock in every direction, causing plenty of volatility. Right now, the biggest battleground sector could be the retailers.

On one hand, rising economic activity, consumer confidence and access to credit has continued to support stocks in the sector. And those who have mastered online and omnichannel shopping are thriving in the new market environment.

However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for the retailers. Store closures and bankruptcies dot the landscape, while malls lay dying. As the economy enters the late stages of the business cycle, analysts have begun to worry that more retailers could be in trouble.

For the retail ETFs, this mixed message posies a huge problem – especially after their enormous run-up in the last few years.

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