Here's how the ASX 200 market sectors stacked up last week

ASX consumer discretionary shares rose by more than 3% last week.

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ASX consumer discretionary shares led the ASX 200 market sectors last week with a 3.23% gain over the five trading days.

Meantime, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) lifted 1.11% to finish the week at 7,814.4 points.

On Thursday, the ASX 200 went close to its all-time high set in April after the S&P 500 hit a new record on encouraging US inflation numbers that stoked hopes of an earlier rate cut.

The Dow Jones index also crossed the 40,000-point mark for the first time ever on Thursday.

Seven of the 11 market sectors finished the week in the green.

Let's review the week.

Consumer discretionary shares led the ASX sectors last week

It's interesting to see ASX consumer discretionary shares at the top despite the obvious challenges for the sector today.

Consumers are starting to reduce their spending more and more as pandemic savings run low, and many economists think interest rates won't be cut until very late in the year, or they could even go up again.

The latest Westpac Consumer Sentiment data is bleak, with sentiment at persistently pessimistic levels for the past two years and "showing few signs of lifting", according to senior economist Matthew Hassan.

Hassan commented:

Indeed, outside of the deep recession of the early 1990s, this is easily the second most protracted period of deep consumer pessimism since we began surveying in the mid-1970s, with all other sentiment slumps lasting nine months or less.

The latest retail figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the "weakest growth on record" outside the pandemic and the introduction of the GST.

Turnover rose just 0.8% for the year to 31 March. This is despite massive population growth driven by high immigration. More than half a million migrants (net) moved here in FY23.

Despite all of this, consumer stocks won the week. Perhaps the cost-of-living measures announced in the Federal Budget on Tuesday prompted investors to buy discretionary stocks?

As my colleague Seb mused: "… more money in pockets from both the tax cuts and the energy rebates will probably disproportionately flow through to consumer discretionary shares."

Let's take a look at some of the best performers within the consumer discretionary sector this week.

Which discretionary retail stocks outperformed this week?

The most obvious one to highlight is Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) shares.

The gaming technology company smashed it out of the park this week. The Aristocrat share price skyrocketed a whopping 17.5% to close at $46.28 on Friday.

The bulk of that gain occurred on Wednesday when the company released its half-year results.

Aristocrat reported a 16.8% jump in net profit after tax (NPAT) to $723.3 million. Other positives were the fully franked interim dividend of 36 cents per share, up 20%, and an extra $350 million in share buybacks.

Among the other discretionary heavyweights, Lottery Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLC) shares rose 1.27% over the five days to finish at $5.19 on Friday.

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) shares gained 1.29% to close at $4.32 on Friday. JB Hi-Fi Ltd (ASX: JBH) shares rose 0.94% to finish at $57.15.

Among the small-cap discretionary stocks, Supply Network Ltd (ASC: SNL) moved 6.38% higher over the week to finish at $22.

By the way, if you're interested in buying ASX retail shares, top broker Goldman Sachs has just released its latest buying recommendations and 12-month share price targets for each of its favourite retail stocks.

Its top pick is Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX: SUL), owner of Rebel and Supercheap Auto.

ASX 200 market sector snapshot

Here's how the 11 market sectors stacked up last week, according to CommSec data.

Over the five trading days:

S&P/ASX 200 market sectorChange last week
Consumer Discretionary (ASX: XDJ)3.23%
Materials (ASX: XMJ) 2.49%
Consumer Staples (ASX: XSJ)1.42%
A-REIT (ASX: XPJ) 1.13%
Financials (ASX: XFJ)0.63%
Healthcare (ASX: XHJ) 0.61%
Communication (ASX: XTJ)0.17%
Utilities (ASX: XUJ)(0.33%)
Information Technology (ASX: XIJ)(0.77%)
Industrials (ASX: XNJ) (1.82%)
Energy (ASX: XEJ)(3.59%)

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has positions in Harvey Norman. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs Group and Lottery. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Harvey Norman and Super Retail Group. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Jb Hi-Fi. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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