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Should You Invest in the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE)?

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Launched on 05/01/2006, the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE - Free Report) is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to provide a broad exposure to the Healthcare - Pharma segment of the equity market.

While an excellent vehicle for long term investors, passively managed ETFs are a popular choice among institutional and retail investors due to their low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency.

Additionally, sector ETFs offer convenient ways to gain low risk and diversified exposure to a broad group of companies in particular sectors. Healthcare - Pharma is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 10, placing it in bottom 38%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by Blackrock. It has amassed assets over $378.50 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Healthcare - Pharma segment of the equity market. IHE seeks to match the performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Pharmaceuticals Index before fees and expenses.

The Dow Jones U.S. Select Pharmaceuticals Index is free-float adjusted market capitalization-weighted index. It includes pharmaceutical companies such as manufacturers of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or vaccines, but excludes producers of vitamins.


Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts if all other fundamentals are the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.42%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.73%.

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, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) accounts for about 22.80% of total assets, followed by Pfizer Inc (PFE - Free Report) and Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 79.18% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF has lost about -8.29% so far, and was up about 1.56% over the last 12 months (as of 05/10/2022). IHE has traded between $180.70 and $201.82 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.81 and standard deviation of 20.30% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 49 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.


IShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, IHE is a reasonable option for those seeking exposure to the Health Care ETFs area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

Invesco Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF (PJP - Free Report) tracks Dynamic Pharmaceutical Intellidex Index and the VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH - Free Report) tracks MVIS US Listed Pharmaceutical 25 Index. Invesco Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF has $301.01 million in assets, VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF has $401.57 million. PJP has an expense ratio of 0.58% and PPH charges 0.35%.

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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