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UnitedHealth Q3 Solid Result Put Healthcare ETFs in Focus

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The largest U.S. health insurer UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report) reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2020 results wherein it breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both earnings and revenues. UnitedHealth also lifted its full year outlook.

Earnings per share came in at $3.51, well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.98 but below the year-ago earnings of $3.88. Revenues grew 7.8% year over year to $65.1 billion and edged past the estimated $63.79 billion. Strong results were led by Optum and the UnitedHealthcare public sector and senior benefits businesses, even as the it saw "its expansive COVID-19 response efforts supporting patients, care providers, customers and communities."

Medical ratio (a measure of the percentage of premiums paid out for medical services) declined to 81.9% from 82.4% in the year-ago levels. The health insurer now expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $16.50 to $16.75, up from the previous guidance of $16.25-$16.55 (see: all the Healthcare ETFs here).

Despite the solid results, UNH shares dropped 2.9% in yesterday trading session. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and VGM Score of A. It belongs to a favorable Zacks industry (placed at the top 26% of 250+ industries), which underscores its potential to outperform in the weeks ahead.

Given this, investors could tap the company’s growth with ETFs having the largest allocation to this health insurance giant. We have highlighted them in detail below:

iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (IHF - Free Report)

This ETF follows the Dow Jones U.S. Select Healthcare Providers Index with exposure to companies that provide health insurance, diagnostics and specialized treatment. In total, the fund holds 54 securities in its basket and UNH occupies the top position with 22.5% share. The fund has amassed $897.7 million in its asset base, while volume is light at about 25,000 shares per day, on average. It charges 42 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook (read: Key ETF Areas to Track as Biden Victory Looks Quite Likely).

iShares Evolved U.S. Healthcare Staples ETF (IEHS - Free Report)

This actively managed ETF employs data science techniques to identify companies with exposure to the health-care staples sector. It holds 159 stocks in its basket with UnitedHealth taking the top spot at 11.3%. The fund has accumulated $14.8 million in its asset base and sees a meager volume of 3,000 shares. It charges 18 bps in annual fees.

Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV - Free Report)

The most popular health care ETF, XLV follows the Health Care Select Sector Index. This fund manages nearly $23.3 billion in its asset base and trades in heavy volume of around 7.2 million shares. Expense ratio comes in at 0.13%. In total, the fund holds 63 securities in its basket with UNH taking the second spot at 7.7% of the assets. Pharma accounts for 28.6% share from a sector look, while health care equipment and supplies, health care providers and services, and biotech have double-digit exposure each. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a Medium risk outlook.

iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (IYH - Free Report)

This fund offers exposure to 122 U.S. healthcare equipment and services, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology companies by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index. Here again, UnitedHealth is the second firm accounting for 7% of the total assets. In terms of industrial exposure, pharma takes the top spot at 26.8%, followed by health care equipment (25.2%) and biotech (17.9%). The product has amassed $2.3 billion in its asset base, while charging 43 bps in annual fees. It trades in moderate volume of around 46,000 shares a day and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: 4 Top ETFs, Stocks From Attractive Sectors Pre Q3 Earnings).

Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT - Free Report)

This ETF tracks the MSCI US Investable Market Health Care 25/50 Index and holds 431 stocks in its basket. Of these, UNH takes the second spot with 6.1% allocation. Pharma takes the largest share at 26.3%, while health care equipment and biotech round off the top three spots. VHT is also one of the popular and liquid ETFs with AUM of $11.4 billion and average daily volume of about 192,000 shares. It charges 10 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook.

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