Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Should You Invest in the VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH)?

Read MoreHide Full Article

If you're interested in broad exposure to the Healthcare - Pharma segment of the equity market, look no further than the VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH - Free Report) , a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 12/20/2011.

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.

Investor-friendly, sector ETFs provide many options 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 4, placing it in top 25%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by Van Eck. It has amassed assets over $383.33 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Healthcare - Pharma segment of the equity market. PPH seeks to match the performance of the MVIS US Listed Pharmaceutical 25 Index before fees and expenses.

The MVIS US Listed Pharmaceutical 25 Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in pharmaceuticals, including pharmaceutical research and development as well a production, marketing and sales of pharmaceuticals.


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 0.36%, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.17%.

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.

Looking at individual holdings, Eli Lilly & Co (LLY - Free Report) accounts for about 5.84% of total assets, followed by Novo Nordisk A/s (NVO - Free Report) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 50.35% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the VanEck Pharmaceutical ETF has lost about -1.34% so far, and it's up approximately 5.62% over the last 12 months (as of 11/01/2023). PPH has traded between $71.58 and $83.18 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.71 and standard deviation of 14.40% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 27 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.


VanEck Pharmaceutical 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, PPH is a good 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 Pharmaceuticals ETF (PJP - Free Report) tracks Dynamic Pharmaceutical Intellidex Index and the iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE - Free Report) tracks Dow Jones U.S. Select Pharmaceuticals Index. Invesco Pharmaceuticals ETF has $246.04 million in assets, iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF has $477.26 million. PJP has an expense ratio of 0.56% and IHE charges 0.40%.

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.

Published in