A Positive Prognosis for Healthcare ETFs

The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV), the largest healthcare exchange traded fund, is up nearly 3% over the past week as the second-best-performing sector in the S&P 500 this year continues trending higher. Some analysts believe the healthcare sector will continue its bullish tendencies for the remainder of 2017.

Industry observers argue that medical technology companies can tap into increased healthcare spending among emerging economies while the U.S. market has matured and could experience slower growth. Looking ahead, in the years through 2024, spending growth is projected to average 5.8% and peak at 6.3% in 2020.

“The healthcare sector showed huge fluctuations in 1H17. The failure of the healthcare restructuring bill in Congress played an important role in the sector’s movement. On the other hand, the stronger earnings growth of various healthcare stocks supported the movement of this sector,” according to Market Realist. “If the healthcare restructuring bill passes in Congress, then we could see more upside in this sector. The healthcare sector is considered a defensive sector. The defensive sector has little correlation with the business cycle, so it is also known as a non-cyclical sector. Investors generally invest in the defensive sector to protect their investments from the business cycle ups and downs.”

Rivals to XLV include the iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (NYSEArca: IYH). The $1.9 billion IYH holds nearly 120 stocks and tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index. The ETF devotes almost 34% of its weight to pharmaceuticals stocks and another 23% to biotechnology names. Healthcare equipment names, one of the best-performing healthcare industry groups this year, are almost 19% of the fund’s weight.