The growing medical needs of the Baby Boomer generation–now totaling some 83 million people–make healthcare a compelling long-term investment theme. According to XShares Advisors, a New York-based financial services firm, U.S. healthcare is currently a $2 trillion industry, representing 17% of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2015, the government projects healthcare spending will reach $4 trillion, or 20% of GDP. In addition, healthcare stocks have delivered 9%-10% annual growth over the last decade, nearly triple GDP growth.
A unique way to play the “aging of America” might be through a series of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from XShares Advisors that invest exclusively in particular sub-sectors of the broad health care industry, including life sciences and biotechnology. The HealthShares ETFs–a family of 19 publicly-traded products–each track a proprietary index developed by XShares Group, parent of XShares Advisors. Each underlying index is administered independently by Standard & Poor’s.
For example, one of these ETFs, the HealthShares Orthopedic Repair (HHP) invests in companies engaged in the manufacture, distribution, or commercialization of medical devices, drugs, or regenerative medicine used to treat an array of orthopedic disorders.
The first batch of HealthShares ETFs launched in January 2007. Each ETF consists of 22 to 25 initially equally-weighted stocks, except the broader-focused HealthShares Composite (HHQ), which holds 80 names. Each ETF carries an expense ratio of 0.75%.