VHT - Vanguard Health Care Index Fund ETF Shares

NYSEArca - NYSEArca Delayed Price. Currency in USD
177.82
+0.05 (+0.03%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close177.77
Open0.00
Bid176.90 x 800
Ask178.50 x 900
Day's Range0.00 - 0.00
52 Week Range
Volume0
Avg. Volume177,310
Net Assets10.4B
NAV177.84
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
Yield2.01%
YTD Daily Total Return12.66%
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.91
Expense Ratio (net)0.10%
Inception Date2004-01-26
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    Let's face it: The stock market is infuriating. Valuations are high, global growth is slow, and President Donald Trump's trade war with China has brought elevated volatility to stocks. Meanwhile, bonds, the only sensible alternative, are at near-record high prices and thus offer puny yields.What's an investor to do? One partial remedy is to increase your investment in health care stocks.Health care, which comprises more than 15% of Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, is the only broad market sector that can hold its own in both bull and bear markets. Although, no question, its best performance relative to the overall stock market comes during selloffs. In 2018, for instance, while the S&P; 500 retreated by 4.6% on a total-return basis (price plus dividends), the health care sector gained 5.6%.Which would you rather have: a shiny new BMW or your health? To ask the question is to answer it. If you're really sick, you'll do whatever it takes to recover, no matter the cost. You'll skip the new car, if necessary. Demand for health care is virtually inelastic. What's more, as baby boomers age, they're requiring more medical care. Simultaneously, breakthrough advances in the treatments of diseases - often expensive treatment - continue at a rapid clip.Below are my six best health care funds, in no particular order. SEE ALSO: The 19 Best ETFs for a Prosperous 2019

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    Many investors want a simple set-and-forget portfolio which will provide a balance between growth and income over time. And particularly if you are just beginning to build a portfolio, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) provide an easy and less expensive means to do this.Source: Shutterstock Inside my Profitable Investing, I have a large collection of model portfolios which are offered to achieve my goal of all-weather performance with lots of income and risk-controlled growth using stocks, bonds and funds -- including ETFs.For ETFs, your portfolio should be weighted to the best sectors of the U.S. markets, with shares in specific stock sectors that are geared to provide growth and income over time. As such, the stock ETF allocation should be set at 56% of your overall portfolio. I continue to recommend a roughly equal weighing for each of the funds you choose.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThis same method applies in the fixed-income sectors that are focused on corporate bonds and preferred stock, as well as the buoyant municipal bond markets. The fixed-income allocation should be set at 44% overall, including an 11% allocation to cash. And like with the stock-based funds, the individual fixed-income ETFs should be weighted evenly. * 7 Retail Stocks to Buy for the Second Half of 2019 And note, the municipal bond ETFs can be bought in tax-free accounts. Some brokerages give warnings about this, but there are no restrictions to doing it. You will give up some of the tax-free income advantage, but the total return prospects for this market remain compelling. Stock AllocationsI'll start with the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:VYM), for access to the general market with a dividend focus. VYM continues to do well year to date with a return of over 14%. Expenses are 0.6%, or just $6 annually for every $10,000 invested.That is the baseline for the stock market. Now let's move into one of the more attractive and defensive market sectors. REITs continue to gain from improving property values and rising income, fueling increasing dividends. Step into this sector safely with the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ). This ETF has resulting in a return year to date of 22% and expenses of 0.12%.Next we move on to the utilities market, which is also gaining from the security of essential services businesses. These, in turn, fuel ample and rising dividends. This sector should be bought with the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU), which has turned in a return year-to-date of 15.7% and carries expenses of 0.1%.Healthcare traditionally has been a reliable growth market through thick and thin. Americans continue to need more and more healthcare and related products -- again providing security in revenues and reliable dividends. This sector has, though, been affected by concerns over potential government changes in healthcare rules. But these concerns, while valid, are still well into the future, probably well beyond the 2020 election. You can invest here with the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEARCA:VHT), which has generated a return to date of 10.8%. The expense ratio is 0.1%.Then we move to the technology market. This sector is challenged by the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which may further impact supply chains in China as well as sales all over the world. But the innovation engines remain on a fuller throttle, resulting in a return that dwarfs the general stock market. Buy in here with the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:VGT) with a return to date of 31.3% and expenses of 0.1%.The petroleum and energy markets remain uncertain. The supply of crude oil outside the U.S. continues to be threatened by internal hostilities in many Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and externally, by sanctions on others including some attacks on ships and pipelines in the Middle East. In the US, shale producers are pumping lots and infrastructure to transport it is coming online -- but the stockpiles are holding down prices.In addition, a slowing global economy is putting supply and demand models into a case for less demand, which is also putting a cap on prices.All this said, the U.S. companies remain great sources of cash flows and are fueling U.S. regional economic growth. And in turn -- they are generating ample cash for bigger dividends. The sector should be represented by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLE) which has turned in a return year to date of 12.2%.Stock Sector Performance Year to Date Using Vanguard and SPDR ETFs Source Bloomberg Fixed-Income ETFs to Invest InAmong fixed-income allocations, you should have specific ETFs for corporate bonds, preferred stocks and municipal bonds.The U.S. economy continues to grow, with little inflation. This is providing excellent opportunities for specific sectors of the bond markets. Add in a docile Federal Reserve Bank which, while not cutting its target rate range for Fed Funds in the June meeting of its Open Market Committee (FOMC), is still expected to ease money conditions in the target range.Corporate bonds are doing well. The economy is bringing more revenues to companies, which in turn makes them better credit risks. And with yield above Treasuries, they drive more demand for these bonds. This sector should be bought with the SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:SPIB) which has generated a return year to date of 5.5% and a 12-month yield of 3.1%. Expenses are 0.07%.Next is preferred stocks. Preferred stocks are the bonds of the stock market. They provide the certainty of largely fixed dividends that are paid before dividends to common stockholders. They are defensive and bigger income-producing investments -- perfect for the current market. The sector should be bought with the iShares Preferred & Income Securities ETF (NASDAQ:PFF) which has generated a return to date of 8.8% and has a 12-month yield of 5.8%. Expenses are 0.46%.Municipal bonds continue from last year to be a go-to market for improving prices with yield premiums to U.S. Treasuries. With the economy doing better, tax revenues for most state and local authorities are improving as well, which in turn drives up the credibility and bond prices. The sector should be bought for total return and not just tax-free income with the Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:VTEB) which has turned in a return to date of 4.1%. Its 12-month yield is 2.3% and expenses are 0.08%.Fixed Income Sector Year to Date Performance using Index Sector ETFs Source BloombergNow I've presented my way to build an all-weather ETF portfolio, perhaps you might like to see more of my market research and recommendations for further safer growth and bigger reliable income. For more - look at my Profitable Investing. Click here to learn more: https://profitableinvesting.investorplace.com/Neil George is the editor of Profitable Investing and does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. 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Add in Federal employee programs, including from the Veterans Association, and there's billions of dollars to pay for lots of drugs and healthcare.Moreover, since few in the U.S. are direct-paying customers in the healthcare sector, there is little in the way of a market-check on prices and costs. This is a recipe for increasing spending and resulting revenues -- and of course profits.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Healthcare Stocks and ProfitsAnd it shows for the first reported quarter of 2019. Healthcare stocks of the S&P 500 index reported revenue gains on average of 13.7%, with earnings gaining 9.1%. That vastly outpaced the general averages for the members of the general S&P 500 Index.And while there is lots of speculation over the pace of growth in revenue and earnings for the healthcare sector as compiled by Bloomberg and shown below, it is still expected to see gains into 2020.Compiled Historic and Forecast Revenue & Earnings Growth for Healthcare Source BloombergAnd yet, year to date, healthcare stocks have lagged the S&P 500 Index in total return, with the sector generating a return of 1.8% against the S&P 500's 11.9%.S&P 500 Healthcare Index & S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergThe big hindrance seems to come from concerns of the political rhetoric of the well-underway 2020 U.S. elections. On the Democratic side, there's wild talk of national health insurance and even doing away with private employer-paid coverage. And in a limited amount in the Grand Old Party (GOP), there's talk at least of doing something about drug prices. * 7 Stocks to Buy for Monster Growth Either way, investors seem to be spooked for now about the cushy market enjoyed by healthcare companies. But take a look at the many opinion polls from folks on the left and right when asked directly about serious changes to the U.S. healthcare market. You'll see the majority of folks don't want what's being pitched -- particularly in terms of national health insurance.My take is that the healthcare sector is a bargain right now on overblown fears. And with better revenue and earnings growth coming from a buoyant market for healthcare and drugs, the sector is a safer place for a healthier portfolio. Ill-Gotten GainsThe key to the sector's future success is that the U.S. is a nation that is aging and becoming ever less healthy. This isn't a good mix for one of the leading economies of the planet. In a recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census, by 2035, it is projected that 78 million folks will be 65 years or older. By that same year, those at or under the age of 18 years will be 76 million.This will be a further significant change in the demographics of the U.S. It has traditionally been a younger nation with more healthy and able folks to produce more for the economy.And it gets worse with it comes to the health of the overall population whether old or young. The Mayo Clinic recently released its extensive study of the health of the population and is saying that 3% or less are living a healthy lifestyle. This is not surprising. Just take a stroll around many neighborhoods around the nation and do some people watching. We are a nation of fatter people that don't look like they could walk up a flight of stairs, let alone run up one.The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) just released a study saying 36.5% of the U.S. population is obese. This sets up the nation for more diabetes and all of the ancillary health effects of that disease. And then there is heart health and its complications.Add in a higher poverty rate, which can lead to further health challenges for young and old alike, and other factors including infant mortality, and the nation doesn't look too healthy.And of course, last year we saw that life expectancies in the U.S. population stopped seeing improvements, with some segments dropping in life years. And the end of the line is where healthcare spending really ramps up to keep those older ailing alive a bit longer.No wonder healthcare spending is big in the U.S. and climbing quickly. According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) -- healthcare spending increased in 2017 by 3.9% to $3.9 trillion or $10,739 per person. This represents 17.9% of the then gross domestic product of the U.S. (GDP).And it is getting worse. The CMS projects that spending between 2017 through 2016 will continue to rise by an average annual rate of 5.50% reaching $5.7 trillion. And given projections for GDP for the period -- that would come closer to 20% of the overall economy.Now this isn't good news for the U.S. population, but it does provide for a silver lining for us as investors. Where to StartInside the model portfolios of my Profitable Investing, I have the overall market for healthcare synthetically invested in the Vanguard Healthcare ETF (NYSEARCA:VHT). This ETF provides a one-stop solution for this market. And over the trailing five years, the ETF has generated a return of 63.80% - which is above the general S&P 500 Index.But moving on to the drug companies, I have the drug maker, Merck (NYSE:MRK), which continues to perform particularly well over the past three years with a return of 54.5%. Revenues continue to advance, with the most recent report showing gains of 7.8%. Operating margins are running fat at 19.6%, which contributes to a great return on shareholder's equity of 27.4%. It has lots of cash and little debt, so it can easily support its pipeline of new treatments.Then I have a peer with another drug maker, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), which follows the success of Merck with a return over the recent three years of 33.9%. Revenues are a bit more tepid, with gains running at 1.6%. But its operating margins are better at 26.1% which supports a return on equity of 17.8%. And like Merck, Pfizer has lots of cash and little debt, so further investment in its newer products and services is easily supported. MPW Stock Is a FavoriteThen there's a favorite of mine in the healthcare property market with Medical Properties Trust (NYSE:MPW). This is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and acquires healthcare facilities, including inpatient and outpatient facilities as well as surgical centers and specialty healthcare facilities. The have more than 120 properties in 25 states as well as some newer innovative investments in Germany, Australia and this week in Switzerland.These properties are leased on a net basis, in which its tenants pay insurance, upkeep and taxes. The operators run the facilities and pay rent month after month for years. The portfolio has expanded dramatically over the recent years, with only a small pause in the past year. But it continues to look to expand its portfolio with the right properties in an ever-expanding market. Hence its deal in Swiss Confederation.Revenues are climbing, with gains running at 21.1% per year on average for the trailing three years. And the funds from operations (FFO), which measures just the return rate from the cashflows from the property portfolio, is ample at 10.9%. That's impressive for the REIT space. This contributes to an impressive return on its assets at 11% .And the stock continues to reflect its performance as a company. Over the past three years, the stock has delivered a total return of 50.7%.It is a disciplined company when it comes to debt and leverage, as its debt-to-capital is at only 47%. This provides the ability to easily service its current debts and provides eased access for credit to fund additional acquisitions.The stock is also still a value proposition. The stock is valued at only 1.4 times its book value. That has been climbing significantly over the trailing year from only 1.1 times back in October of 2018.But it isn't just the price to book that's rising, it's the actual value of the assets. Over the past five years alone, the underlying book value per share has gone from $7.98 to a current $12.45. That represents an impressive gain of 56%. This is important as it shows genuine growth in the underlying company and not just the stock price.The dividend is 25 cents per share and has risen 4.05% annually on average over the past five years. This equates to a current yield of 5.57%.In addition, the dividend is tax-advantaged due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). That provides a tax deduction of 20% of the dividend distribution for U.S. individual investors.Now I've presented some of my favorite healthcare stocks that are capitalizing on U.S. demographics and spending. Perhaps you might like to see more of my market research and recommendations? For more, look at my Profitable Investing. Click here to learn more: https://profitableinvesting.investorplace.com/Neil George is the editor of Profitable Investing and does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 4 Top American Penny Pot Stocks (Buy Before June 21) * 7 Stocks to Buy for Monster Growth * Ranking the Top 10 Stock Buybacks of Last Year * 5 Stocks Under $10 With Big Upside Potential Compare Brokers The post Drug and Healthcare Stocks to Keep Your Portfolio Healthy appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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