Fewer than 10 exchange traded funds hit new all-time highs Wednesday. Four were health care ETFs and two – the iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (NYSEArca: IHF) and the SPDR S&P Health Care Services ETF (NYSEArca: XHS) – are explicit plays on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
It is not new news that IHF has benefited from Obamacare. The $524.2 million ETF is up 66.7% in the past two years. XHS is smaller with $87.6 million in assets under management, but has been a tad more potent over the past two years, gaining 67.8%.
As been previously noted, XHS’ advantage comes by way of its robust exposure to hospital stocks. The ETF allocates almost 31% of its weight to health care facilities operators and another 20% to managed health care providers. Some investors may not want to hear it, depending on their personal politics, but Obamacare has made those exposures in XHS all the more beneficial. [ER ETF Could Rally Again]
“HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA), the largest for-profit hospital chain, yesterday raised its forecast and reported a 6.6 percent drop in uninsured patients at its 165 hospitals, a reduction that grows to 48 percent in four states that expanded Medicaid, a top initiative of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. WellPoint Inc. (WLP), which made the biggest commitment of any publicly traded insurer to the Obamacare markets, raised its guidance today after handily beating analyst estimates for the quarter on rising membership linked to the overhaul,” report Alex Wayne and Shannon Pettypiece for Bloomberg.
LifePoint Hospitals (NasdaqGS: LPNT) and Tenet (NYSE: THC) are among the other hospital-related stocks enjoying life under Obamacare. HCA, Tenet and LifePoint are three of XHS’ top-four holdings, combining for about 7% of the equal-weight ETF. XHS devotes 2.1% to WellPoint.