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Retail stocks just broke a historic losing streak — here's how experts are playing them now

Retail stocks are getting crushed — here’s how the experts are trading them now
Retail stocks are getting crushed — here’s how the experts are trading them now

Retail stocks jumped on Wednesday after posting eight straight days of losses, the group's longest losing streak on record. Now, one strategist is calling for bigger gains to come.

The XRT, a popular exchange-traded fund that tracks retail stocks, has plunged 14 percent in the last three months, with some of its holdings, such as Walmart, Dollar Tree and Kroger, underperforming the market in that time. The ETF plunged on Tuesday, led to the downside by L Brands and Target, after both retailers posted earnings that missed Wall Street's estimates.

Sentiment has turned too bearish on the retail space heading into the holiday season, said Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, and he sees further upside in the near term.

"Wage growth is picking up and gasoline prices are going down. That's a good recipe for the consumer stocks ... especially since they've come down so much recently," he wrote to CNBC in an email on Wednesday.

Michael Bapis, managing director with Vios Advisors at Rockefeller Capital Management, is among those who believe retail stocks aren't out of the woods just yet. He said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation" that brick-and-mortar stores face a high bar to impress consumers.

"I believe that there are retailers that are positioned. They need to have a super quality customer experience or something in a brand that draws people to continue to go there, otherwise you're seeing a massive shift in the industry," he said.

The XRT rose 2 percent on Wednesday and was on track for its best day of November.