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Should You Invest in the Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT)?

Sector ETF report for VHT

This story originally appeared on Zacks

The Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) was launched on 01/26/2004, and is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Healthcare - Broad segment of the equity market.

- Zacks

Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

Additionally, sector ETFs offer convenient ways to gain low risk and diversified exposure to a broad group of companies in particular sectors. Healthcare - Broad is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 11, placing it in bottom 31%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $17.31 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Healthcare - Broad segment of the equity market. VHT seeks to match the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Health Care 25/50 Index before fees and expenses.

The MSCI US Investable Market Health Care 25/50 Index is made up of stocks of U.S. companies within the health care sector.


When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts in the long term if all other factors remain equal.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.10%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.15%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Healthcare sector--about 100% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) accounts for about 7.19% of total assets, followed by Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE).

Performance and Risk

So far this year, VHT return is roughly 19.81%, and is up about 20.36% in the last one year (as of 12/23/2021). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $218.21 and $265.84.

The ETF has a beta of 0.79 and standard deviation of 21.14% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 455 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Vanguard Health Care ETF holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, VHT is an excellent option for investors seeking exposure to the Health Care ETFs segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG) tracks N/A and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) tracks Health Care Select Sector Index. ARK Genomic Revolution ETF has $5.49 billion in assets, Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF has $34.69 billion. ARKG has an expense ratio of 0.75% and XLV charges 0.12%.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT): ETF Research Reports


UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report


Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report


Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report


Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV): ETF Research Reports


ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG): ETF Research Reports


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