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Should You Invest in the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI)?

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Looking for broad exposure to the Healthcare - Biotech segment of the equity market? You should consider the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI - Free Report) , a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 01/31/2006.

Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

Sector ETFs also provide investors access to a broad group of companies in particular sectors that offer low risk and diversified exposure. Healthcare - Biotech is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 11, placing it in bottom 31%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by State Street Global Advisors. It has amassed assets over $7.01 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Healthcare - Biotech segment of the equity market. XBI seeks to match the performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index before fees and expenses.

The S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index represents the biotechnology sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Markets Index. The S&P TMI tracks all the U.S. common stocks listed on the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap exchanges. The Biotech Index is a modified equal weight index.


Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.35%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.04%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Healthcare sector--about 100% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, Chemocentryx Inc. (CCXI - Free Report) accounts for about 1.74% of total assets, followed by Ocugen Inc (OCGN - Free Report) and Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (GBT - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 10.71% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -19.65% and is down about -22.68% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 12/29/2021), respectively. XBI has traded between $108.77 and $173.99 during this last 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 1.12 and standard deviation of 33.69% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 190 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


SPDR S&P Biotech ETF holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, XBI is an outstanding option for investors seeking exposure to the Health Care ETFs segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology ETF (FBT - Free Report) tracks NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index and the iShares Biotechnology ETF (IBB - Free Report) tracks Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology ETF has $1.72 billion in assets, iShares Biotechnology ETF has $9.95 billion. FBT has an expense ratio of 0.55% and IBB charges 0.45%.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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