NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Health care stocks have traditionally been viewed as defensive, but over the past 5 years the sector has been the best performer the S&P 500. Mario Minot, partner at Minotti Group Wealth Advisors, says the run in healthcare names is far from over.
"The healthcare sector is really dynamic right now and there has been huge investment in the arena spurred by the Affordable Care Act," says Minotti. "The growth has been across the board because it's a broad industry that encompasses hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and medical device players."
The Healthcare Select Sector SPDR, which owns shares of Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Pfizer ( PFE), has returned 163% in the past 5 years, compared to a 140% gain for the second-place Consumer Discretionary SPDR and a 104% rise for the third-place Technology SPDR.
When it comes to healthcare's often volatile cousin biotech, Minotti says he is not turning away from it despite its high valuation. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF, which holds stocks like Amgen ( AMGN) and Gilead ( GILD), is up 348% in the past 5 years. Its holdings also trade for an above market multiple of 25 times trailing 12 months earnings.
"Biotech is a high profile player in the healthcare sector and we are seeing more M&A than ever in that space," says Minotti. "It's worth keeping an eye on because valuations are high but we still see a lot of growth potential there. We are not turned away because of the high multiple and we want our clients to have exposure there."
Nevertheless, while Minotti is not afraid to own biotech shares, he is less constructive on traditional technology stocks as well as energy shares which have suffered in the past year due to the wild swings in the price of oil.
"Most of our clients are long term and focused on retirement rather than speculation," says Minotti. "Energy prices can be up and down especially in the short term, but potentially in the long term, too, so we are not overweighting energy in our portfolios.