Consumer Staples are a great measure of risk appetite. When the economic outlook is uncertain, investors tend to favor companies that offer stability. Consumer Staples fit that bill. Recession or not, we’re going to keep buying toothpaste and toilet paper, but we may hold off on buying that new TV for the man-cave. Staples, then, offer a great measure of risk appetite. When these stable companies outperform the broader index, it’s a sign that investors are cautious. When Staples lag, investors are adding risk to capitalize on faster expected growth.