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

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If you're interested in broad exposure to the Healthcare - Pharma segment of the equity market, look no further than the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE - Free Report) , a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 05/01/2006.

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 - Pharma is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 6, placing it in top 38%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by Blackrock. It has amassed assets over $424.14 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.


Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.39%, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.70%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that 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 23.13% of total assets, followed by Pfizer Inc (PFE - Free Report) and Merck & Co Inc (MRK - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 78.38% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF has lost about -6.11% so far, and is down about -1.28% over the last 12 months (as of 09/13/2022). IHE has traded between $176.14 and $201.82 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.74 and standard deviation of 20.62% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 45 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 $320.96 million in assets, VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF has $592.27 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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