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ETF Chart of the Day: Healthcare Sector


Healthcare sector ETFs have been crushing the market in 2013 but their outperformance relative to the S&P 500 has cooled the past two weeks.

Is this the pause that refreshes or are healthcare ETFs set to lag the market?

Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) is up 19.2% year to date while the S&P 500 has gained 12.7%, according to Morningstar.

Healthcare ETFs have benefited from defensive posturing from investors this year with utilities and consumer staples also outperforming. Investors have gravitated to steadier companies that pay attractive dividends.

Investors Intelligence technical analyst Tarquin Coe remains upbeat on the sector.

“Healthcare has taken a respite the past few weeks following strong gains since the start of 2013,” he said in a newsletter Wednesday.

“XLV hows a consolidation since notching a record high on April 23. The relative chart has corrected but the yearlong uptrend still stands,” the analyst noted. “Providing the price avoids a breakdown through the 50-day exponential moving average around $46 [a share] we would view any further weakness as a buying opportunity.”


The chart below shows the year-to-date performance of nine sector ETFs, using the S&P 500 as the baseline.