Expect More Volatility for Healthcare ETFs

 Expect More Volatility for Healthcare ETFs

No sector has been plagued by election-year antics and volatility on par with healthcare, the third-largest sector weight in the S&P 500. Political posturing has been weighing on exchange-traded funds such as the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT) and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV).

Last month, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spotlighted Mylan (NasdaqGS: MYL) EpiPen prices, triggering a selloff in biotech exchange-traded funds and reminding investors of political risks in an election season. Her comments were particularly painful for ETFs such as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGM: IBB) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI).

This was the third time Clinton’s comments upended drug stocks over the past year. The presidential runner has repeatedly censured aggressive drug pricing. With most polls giving her a wide margin over Republican nominee Donald Trump, the markets take Clinton’s words more seriously.


SEE MORE: Clinton Delivers Poison Pill To Biotech ETFs

A historically tricky month for stocks, heading into October, some market observers saw more volatility ahead for healthcare stocks as Election Day nears.

“The market in autumn tends to see an uptick in volatility — and Goldman Sachs forecasts the healthcare sector could see a particularly rocky upcoming month,” reports CNBC. For XLV and rival healthcare ETFs, the good news is that the U.S. economy is moving into the late-cycle phase, overall growth may slow, and signs of an economic slowdown could pop up. Consequently, investors may also turn to defensive sectors that are less economically sensitive, such as health care. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and GOP hopeful Donald Trump support the right for the government to negotiate Medicare drug costs. Additionally, Clinton has previously stated she would tackle “price gouging” from drugmakers if elected.


Related: Healthcare ETFs Ready to Rally

“But other catalysts could lend themselves to further turbulence for health care, particularly citing “key” healthcare and biotech conferences, analyst meetings, earnings season, and the presidential debates,” according to CNBC. The pharmaceutical industry has also taken a greater interest in so-called orphan drugs due to their strong protection, which helps support reliable pricing power, especially as the sector faces questions over the high pricing of primary care products.

Health Care Select Sector SPDR

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon and may not come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product, Wide Info. Our partners provided this article at ETFTrends.

Dennis Bailey


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