NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) consists of 54 companies including four components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This exchange-traded fund has a year-to-date gain of 25% despite peaking with an all-time intraday high at $71.42 on Dec.8. The health care sector has thus outperformed the Dow 30 and S&P 500 and their gains of 8.9% and 13%, respectively.

The Dow 30 and S&P 500 set all-time intraday highs on Friday at 18103 and 2092.7, respectively. Before showing the daily and weekly charts for the health care ETF here's a brief look at four Dow components in this exchange-traded fund.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) ($105.33) set its all-time intraday high at $109.49 on Nov. 13, then held its 200-day simple moving average at $102.90 on Dec. 16. The stock has a year-to-date gain of 15% so it still outperformed both the Dow 30 and S&P 500. J&J had a strong momentum run-up of 15% from a low of $95.10 on Oct. 15 to the all-time high set on Nov. 13. The weekly chart is negative with its key weekly moving average at $105.97.

Merck (MRK) ($57.73) set its all-time intraday high at $62.20 on Dec. 8, then ended last week below its 200-day simple moving average at $58.00. The stock has a year-to-date gain of 15.4%, so like J&J, is still outperformed both the Dow 30 and S&P 500. Merck had a strong momentum run-up of 18% from a low of $52.49 on Oct. 16 to the all-time high set on Dec. 8. The weekly chart is negative with its key weekly moving average at $98.96.

Pfizer (PFE) ($31.39) set its all-time intraday high at $33.11 on Dec. 11, then stayed above its 200-day simple moving average at $40.04. The stock has a year-to-date gain of just 2.5% as a drag on the health care sector. Pfizer had a strong momentum run-up of 20% from a low of $27.51 on Oct. 16 to the all-time high set on Dec. 11. The weekly chart becomes negative given a close on Friday below its key weekly moving average at $30.98.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) ($102.33) set its all-time intraday high at $104 on Dec. 19 and has been above its 200-day simple moving average since testing it at $69.90 on Feb. 11. The stock has a year-to-date gain of 36%, outperforming the health care ETF. UnitedHealth had a strong momentum run-up of 29% from a low of $80.72 on Oct.15 to the all-time high set on Dec. 19. The weekly chart is positive but overbought with its key weekly moving average at $98.04.

Here's the daily chart for the Health Care Sector SPDR.

Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The daily chart for the health care sector ETF ($69.38) shows this exchange-traded fund entered 2014 well above its 200-day simple moving average (green line) then at $50.33. This ETF tested its 200-day SMA when it was $59.86 on Oct. 15.

The health care ETF slipped 9.1% from $65.16 on Sept. 19 to as low as $59.21 into Oct. 15. The rebound from this low to the all-time intraday high set at $71.42 on Dec. 8 totaled 21%.

Here's the weekly chart for Health Care Sector SPDR.

Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

The weekly chart for the health care sector ETF clearly shows this exchange-traded fund has been above its 200-week simple moving average (green line) since Oct. 2011 with this average now at $45.98.

The weekly chart is positive but overbought with its key weekly moving average at $68.43. The momentum reading shown at the bottom of the graph in red is above the 80.00 overbought threshold at 88.42.

Follow @Suttmeier


TheStreet Ratings team rates MERCK & CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MERCK & CO (MRK) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MRK Ratings Report

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

More from Opinion

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook

PayPal Strikes Again, Facebook, and AT&T -- 3 Tech Stories You Must Know

PayPal Strikes Again, Facebook, and AT&T -- 3 Tech Stories You Must Know

How to Invest Like Warren Buffett

How to Invest Like Warren Buffett

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites