Sector ETFs Most at Risk of Earning Disappointments Ahead

As we head toward earnings season, the latest quarterly results could disappoint, with information technology and health care and related exchange traded funds among the worst off.

According to FactSet data, 77% of the 113 companies that have issued earnings per share guidance have warned that the numbers will be worse than what many are expecting, CNBC reports.

“The harsh reality is data is going to impact sentiment,” Michael Yoshikami, founder of Destination Wealth Management, told CNBC. “I don’t think it’s something that can be ignored. Even though markets are at all-time highs, the economy is definitely slowing.”

Among the areas of the market that are blaring the loudest warning signals, information technology and health care have been caught in the tariff battle between the U.S. and its global trading partners, notably China. Specifically, semiconductors and equipment along with health-care equipment and supplies and life sciences tools and services have issued the highest number of negative pre-earnings announcements.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs against $250 billion worth of Chinese goods has put a spotlight on technology and intellectual property. Additionally, steel and aluminum duties are taking their toll on the health-care industry, impacting about $1.8 billion worth of medical imports.

“Stocks are priced for perfection. You haven’t seen too much suffering yet, but it’s kind of incipient. It’s creeping into the numbers little by little,” Mitchell Goldberg, president of ClientFirst Strategy, told CNBC. “When stocks are priced for perfection, even little things become insurmountable.”

Nevertheless, investors may hedge potential downside risks in the technology sector through inverse or bearish ETF plays. For instance, the ProShares UltraShort Technology (NYSEArca: REW) takes the -2x or -200% daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Technology index, the Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: TECS) reflects the -3x or -300% daily performance of the S&P Technology Select Sector Index, and the Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares (SOXS) aims to take the -300% daily performance of the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index.

Investors who are wary of the potential changes and the effects it will have on the healthcare sector can take steps to hedge against further risks through inverse ETF options. For example, the ProShares UltraShort Health Care (NYSEArca: RXD) follows the -2x or -200% daily performance of the broader healthcare sector.

For more information on the market sectors, visit our sector ETFs category.