Healthcare ETFs Are Hot Right Now, but Not All Are Created Equal

The coronavirus pandemic put healthcare exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the forefront as medical providers are an essential component in the global market landscape. However, investors shouldn’t suck up any and all health care ETFs in sight like a robotic vacuum because not all are created equal.

Where can investors pick up quality healthcare ETFs? Investors can look for health care opportunities in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLV) and the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT), which comprise two of the biggest in the sector.

“When Mr. Market succumbed to Coronavirus after February 19, everything seemed to collapse in unison,” wrote Marc Gerstein in Forbes. “In reality, some sectors fell a bit harder while others were a bit less bad, but on the whole, everybody who had money in stocks felt ill.”

“When it comes to the snapback (or bear-market rally) we’ve enjoyed since March 23, we’ve been seeing some meaningful separation,” Gerstein added. “The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) bounced 23%. But coronavirus-induced expectations of future profitability sent the SPDR Select Sector Healthcare ETF (XLV) up 31%, bringing it to within 7% of its pre-crash high. But Healthcare ETFs were not created equally, so it’s time to look under the hood and fine-tune portfolio exposure to this sector.”

While there may be sub-genres for healthcare, such as biotechnology or pharma-focused ETFs, investors who are just starting to dabble in healthcare will want to stick with plain vanilla funds that tilt towards broad exposure. Hence, this brings us back to XLV and VHT.

“For those who want just-plain Healthcare — no details, not specifics — this is the group of ETFs to consider and it would be hard to argue against choosing any one versus any of the others,” Gerstein said. “But given that we all must make some sort of decision, unless one has a particular reason to favor a particular fund family or sub-industry that gets a bit more attention in a particular ETF, the default choice, XLV, with its number one group ranking, is a solid selection.”

For traders, they can opt for the Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X ETF (NYSEArca: CURE). CURE seeks daily investment results equal to 300% of the daily performance of the Health Care Select Sector Index. The index CURE tracks includes domestic companies from the healthcare sector, which includes the following industries: pharmaceuticals; health care equipment and supplies; health care providers and services; biotechnology; life sciences tools and services; and health care technology.

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