How To Avoid The Pharmaceuticals Fallout With These Three ETFs

Investors that closely follow the healthcare sector are most likely familiar with the carnage at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE:VRX). Shares of the controversial pharmaceuticals maker have lost nearly two-thirds of their value over the past 90 days, plaguing some hedge funds and exchange traded funds along the way.

On Monday, shares of Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE:MNK) slid more than 17.4, a decline,triggered by a tweet from Citron Researchthat read, "At these prices $MNK has signif more downside than $VRX-- far worse offender of the reimb sys - more to follow. VRX can't live in a vacuum."

Related Link: Mallinckrodt The Latest To Feel Citron's Wrath, Has Significantly More Downside Than Valeant

Clearly, Citron expects more downside for Mallinckrodt, another pharmaceuticals favorite among the hedge fund crowd, so that leaves ETF investors looking for pharmaceuticals exposure. One play? DO some homework and study healthcare ETFs' holdings... or just skip to the $1.6 billion PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (NYSE:PJP).


PJP, which is a strategic beta ETF that evaluates its 23 holdings based on price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value, currently does not feature Mallinckrodt or Valeant on its roster. However, that does not mean Valeant's woes have not permeated PJP. The ETF has tumbled nearly 11 percent since Valeant's slide began.

Still, PJP deserves some credit as it has popped 3.3 percent over the past month, a period in which Valeant has lost more than half its value. For the bold trader, the Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 2X Shares (NYSE: PILL) is also worth a look.


PILL, which attempts to deliver double the daily performance of PJP's underlying index, debuted less than two months ago, but has managed to climbed nearly 7.7 percent over the past month. Lack of Mallinckrodt and Valeant exposure is not the only reason to mull PJP and PILL.

PJP allocates a combined 10.7 percent of its weight to Dow component Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Allergan Plc (NYSE:AGN), two companies that could announce one of the biggest healthcare marriages in recent memory by Thanksgiving. PILL would also be clearly levered to that a positive outcome for that deal.


And if deterioration in shares of Mallinckrodt and Valeant proves too much for the broader pharmaceuticals space to handle, the Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bear 2X Shares (NYSE: PILS) will get its turn in the limelight. PILS, which debuted on the same days as PILL, seeks to deliver twice the daily inverse returns of PJP's index.

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