TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.
With a tight Congressional calendar and a full-court press by
, health care reform takes center stage this week. Lawmakers are trying to come up with a plan to fix a highly dysfunctional
Obama has been trying to generate support for a government-backed
that people would cover the uninsured and serve as an alternative to employer-sponsored coverage. This strategy aims to make covered services and costs easier to compare among various plans.
Whether or not a public option survives, Obama says reforms will include ways to contain health care prices that are growing faster than inflation and incomes. Those cost controls will create winners and losers.
For the week ending Thursday, Jun. 26, the average health and biotechnology fund we track rose 1.5%, excluding inverse funds that sell these stocks short.
ProShares Ultra Health Care Fund
, up 3.6%, was the best-performing fund. The
ProShares UltraShort Health Care Fund
was the worst, down 4.1%. These exchange-traded funds are 200% leveraged to the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index but move in opposite directions.
Six of the top 10 health funds target biotechnology and drugmaker stocks. Topping this segment is the
First Trust Amex Biotechnology Index Fund
adding 3.1%. One holding,
jumped 16% on optimism about partnerships to treat rheumatoid arthritis and pneumonia. Second-tier names
rose 8.1% and 6.7%, respectively.Industry leaders
slipped 2.1% and 3.8%.
Pharmaceutical companies should gain if more people can afford prescription drugs. However, Amgen lagged the group because it could lose its exclusive patent on its anemia treatment, Epogen, under Obama's plan, which calls for cutting the biologic drug patent period to seven years.
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.