Stellar performances by health care stocks and exchange traded funds this year have been well-document and plenty of investors know that the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) is the best of the nine sector SPDR ETFs to this point in the year.
Up 24.7% year-to-date, XLV, the largest health care ETF by assets, maintains an advantage of 130 basis points over the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) for top honors among the nine sector SPDRs.
Underscoring just how strong the health care sector has been this year, XLV’s nearly 25% does not even qualify the fund for admission to elite status among health care ETFs. That despite $1.62 billion of inflows and being home to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) – three of the just seven Dow stocks that are up at least 20% this year. [Health Care ETFs are Leaders…Again]
Eight of the top-10, including each of the top five, sector ETFs this year are health care ETFs. Specifically, each of member of the top quintet is a biotech fund, according to Dorsey Wright data. Said another way, the five non-leveraged biotech ETFs are also 2014’s five best non-leveraged sector ETFs.
That group is paced by the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEArca: FBT) and in a sign of just how strong biotech ETFs have been this year, the Market Vectors Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: BBH) has been the “worst” with a gain of over 29%.
FBT, BBH, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGM: IBB), PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio (NYSEArca: PBE) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) entered Wednesday with an average 2014 gain of 33.6%, roughly two and a half times what the S&P 500 has delivered. [More Records for Biotech ETFs]
Combined, the five biotech ETFs have added about $1 billion in new assets this year with IBB and FBT combining for over 96% of that total.