ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Two exchange traded funds (ETFs) representing two different sectors – health care and clean energy – had a slow, rough start for the first part of 2008.

These funds probably want to put those days behind them and start moving forward, says Billy Fisher for The Street. And they have, somewhat:

  • iShares Dow Jones US Health Care Provider Fund (IHF): Down 21.2% year-to-date, up 5.9% so far in the second quarter.
  • PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Fund (PBW): Down 19% year-to-date, up 14.5% for the second quarter.

IHF took two hits in the first quarter: Humana (HUM), 3.5% of the fund, revealed they would slash 2008 earnings forecasts as they had been mispricing their Medicare prescription drugs.  WellPoint (WLP), 8.45% of assets, was forced to cut earnings forecasts because of rising medical costs and a slowing economy .

If Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins the White House this November, the biotechnology and health care sectors could benefit. They both support ending the ban on stem cell research, and both candidates have called for better health care for all Americans.

On the clean energy front, PBW has an upward battle just because of the nature of the industry. Clean technologies have not yet become cost-efficient enough for mainstream life, some experts say. However, PBW offers diversification, which gives some stability. The companies in the fund would would be more volatile as standalone holdings.

Fuel cell names are also important to PBW, although none of them are in the top holdings. With the disappointment that ethanol has proven to be so far, fuel cells are especially attractive, with lots of future potential. Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) and FuelCell Energy (FCEL) are both up-and-coming in solar technology.

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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.