ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Each administration brings its own set of policies to the White House. Investing in exchange traded funds (ETFs) may be a prudent way to experience a potential windfall from the country’s new direction without the high volatility inherent in individual stocks.

ETFs are a good way for investors to capitalize on policy initiatives of the Obama administration while reducing the day-to-day volatility compared to other investment options, such as stocks, remarks Daniel Harrison for IndexUniverse. (Play Obama’s new energy plan).

Health Care opportunities. Jim Oberweis, chief executive of Oberweis Asset Management, believes that “there is a possible positive [outcome]for pharmaceutical companies” since sales of prescription drugs will increase as health care coverage widens. Furthermore, Oberweis argues that health care providers may benefit from more patient visits and biotechs are in a more positive position than previously thought. (More on the health care sector).

Broad-based and niche market ETFs that could benefit from the growth in the number of patients receiving coverage include:

  • Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV): up 14.3% year-to-date
  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (NYSEArca: IYH): up 15.1% year-to-date
  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Medical Devices (NYSEArca: IHI): up 32.4% year-to-date; IHI is well-diversified, with 58% of assets under management in its top 10 holdings, and a maximum single-stock weighting of 10%. Companies included should benefit from the increase in the number of hospital patient visits.
  • PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals (NYSEArca: PJP): up 10.3% year-to-date; PJP is a well-diversified ETF on large, mostly dividend-paying pharmaceutical companies that have lots of cash on hand and may see an increase in sales of core prescription drugs.
  • SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals (NYSEArca: XPH): up 19.2% year-to-date; XPH is more broadly diversified.
  • iShares Dow Jones US Pharmaceuticals (NYSEArca: IHE): up 22.2% year-to-date; IHE focuses more on the oversold traditional pharma brands like PJP.
  • SPDR S&P Biotech (NYSEArca: XBI): down 4.3% year-to-date; XBI is well-diversified, with 45% of its funds invested in its top 10 holdings. The fund is also mostly invested in nontraditional pharma companies.
  • iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (NasdaqGM: IBB): up 11.2% year-to-date; IBB has a higher weighting in its top holdings and it focuses exclusively on Nasdaq-listed securities; some large biotech companies may be excluded.

Clean energy. It is no big secret that clean energy is a big policy initiative of the Obama administration. The more notable technologies being pushed into the forefront of the sector are nuclear and solar energy. Solar tech investing is still considered risky because of the industry’s mini boom/bust cycles, but ETFs help minimize volatility. (More on alternative energy).

  • Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEArca: KWT): down 6.5% year-to-date
  • Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (NYSEArca: TAN): up 0.3% year-to-date
  • Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF (NYSEArca: NLR): up 19.7% year-to-date

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. 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.