With the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) up 5.3% year-to-date, good for one of the best performances among the nine sector SPDR exchange traded funds, it stands to reason that XLV’s small-cap equivalent would be producing strong returns as well.
Up nearly 15% this year, the PowerShares S&P SmallCap Health Care Portfolio (PSCH) is cementing its status as high-flying healthcare ETF. PSCH tracks the S&P SmallCap 600Capped Health Care Index, which has easily outperformed the S&P SmallCap 600 Index over the past year and three years, according to PowerShares data. [Write a Prescription for This Healthcare ETF]
What makes PSCH’s acent notable (the ETF is up 26% in the past year) is what it lacks. When many investors think of high-flying small-cap healthcare names, those thoughts typically drift to the biotechnology industry. However, biotech stocks account for just 6.4% of PSCH’s, making that group the ETF’s smallest industry weight. PSCH has exposure to six healthcare sub-sectors.
Additionally, PSCH is light on another on of the top-performing healthcare sub-sectors: Pharmaceuticals. Like biotech, the pharmaceuticals industry has been boosted by a spate of favorable FDA news and a robust round of mergers and acquisitions. Still, PSCH has been able to deliver noteworthy returns with just a 12.8% weight to pharmaceuticals stocks. [These ETFs Will Enjoy a Salix Takeover]
What it lacks in pharmaceuticals and biotech exposure, PSCH makes up for with heavy weights to healthcare equipment manufacturers and services providers. Those sub-sectors combine for 65.3% of PSCH’s weight. That is nearly double the weight to large-cap equipment makers and services providers featured by XLV.
It is worth noting that the health care providers segment saw the busiest pace of deal-making in the last three quarters of 2013 with 284 total transactions, according to Modern Healthcare. Having a large weight to healthcare services providers is a favorable trait for any ETF in a year in which UnitedHealth (UNH) is just one of five Dow stocks up at least 10%.
With 70.4% of its holdings considered small-cap growth names, it is not surprising that PSCH sports a biotech-esque P/E ratio of almost 31. That has not prevented investors from pouring almost $10.2 million of PSCH’s $195.4 million in assets under management into the ETF this year. PSCH holds 71 stocks and charges 0.71% per year.
PowerShares S&P SmallCap Health Care Portfolio