Just 18 exchange traded products hit new all-time highs Wednesday, but in another sign of the sector’s resurgence, five ETFs making new highs yesterday were health care funds.
Among the health care ETFs hitting new highs are familiar offerings such as the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV), the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT) and the iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (NYSEArca: IYH). With $9.45 billion in assets under management, XLV is the largest health care ETF.
XLV has performed in line with the S&P 500 since the start of the current quarter, but over the past month that ETF and its aforementioned rivals have started separating themselves from the benchmark U.S. index. Over that time, XLV is up 3.1%, which is about 100 basis points better than the S&P 500. [Health Care ETF Still Fundamentally Sound]
That out-performance is a sign of increasing relative strength. That increasing relative strength is evident in a comparison of VHT and the S&P 500.
“There are two positive developments on this chart that suggest to me that there is a sustainable move into the Heath Care sector via the Vanguard Health Care ETF. The first is the ability maintain the 2011 relative strength (RS) uptrend line and the second is the reclaiming of the 2012 RS line,” according to J. Beck Investments.
Broader health care ETFs such as XLV and VHT have been bolstered by a rebound in biotechnology stocks, one that investors have approach with caution if not doubt.
Since the start of the second quarter, four of the five biotech ETFs have seen combined outflows of over $466 million with only the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEArca: FBT) gaining new cash. [Biotech ETF at a Pivotal Point]
XLV and VHT have lost a combined $366 million this quarter.
However, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGM: IBB) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) are up 6.4% and 14.3%, respectively, in the past month. Biotech stocks account for almost 19% of XLV’s weight and 20% of VHT.
Vanguard Health Care ETF