A Fabulous Pharma ETF

It has been another strong year for exchange traded funds that follow the health care sector, the best performer in the S&P 500 in 2014, and ETFs dedicated to the pharmaceuticals industry have been no exception.

As is the case with biotechnology ETFs, pharmaceuticals ETFs offer investors multiple choices that are far from carbon copies of each other. There are traditional cap-weighted pharma ETFs, equal-weight offerings as well as strategic beta funds.

The PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (NYSEArca: PJP) fits the bill as a strategic beta ETF. More importantly, PJP fits the bill as an impressive pharma ETF. PJP is up almost 18% year-to-date and resides just pennies below its all-time reached several weeks ago. Over the past 90 days, PJP is up 6.3%, making it the best performer among the major dedicated pharma ETFs. Those are not small feats when acknowledging pharmaceuticals makers took their lumps during the March/April biotechnology swoon. [Sign up for This Pharma ETF]

PJP’s bullishness is not new. Over the past three years, the ETF has returned 161.4% while its three main rivals posted an average return of 116%.

“With PJP and other “smart” indexes, there’s no way to know what the portfolio will look like in several months time, let alone several years. Either the index works, and outperforms, or it doesn’t. Given the track record of PJP, it appears the Intellidex strategy works in the pharmaceutical sector,” notes Matthew Sauer on Seeking Alpha.

PJP tracks the Dynamic Pharmaceutical Intellidex Index which evaluates companies for inclusion based on “price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value,” according to PowerShares.