Top Health Equity Funds

Featuring top performing Health equity mutual funds, which primarily invest in equity securities of healthcare and associated companies because this sector continues to show promise despite concerns about the impact of the new health care legislation. Even though, policy changes continue to be a substantial indicator to investing in the sector, those companies that have diversified into foreign markets, whose business models are based on information technology platforms or those that offer a wide range of products, continue to show promise.

Investors can find such health funds by checking out the entire list of the Zacks #1 Rank Health Equity Funds.

5 Health Fund picks

Franklin Biotechnology Discovery A (FBDIX) seeks long term capital growth. It was incepted in September 1997.

A large share of the assets of this health fund, at least 80%, are invested in equity securities of biotechnology companies and discovery research firms worldwide, including those concentrating on therapeutics, drug delivery, gene therapy. The health fund also invests in minor capitalization companies, those with a market capitalization of less than $ 1.5 billion. It also places a smaller part of its kitty in private or illiquid securities, such as late stage venture capital financings.

This health equity fund has an expense ratio of 1.32% against a category average of 1.91%. As of July 2009, it has a portfolio turnover of 45% against a category average of 135%. The funds top holdings include Amgen Inc, Gilead Sciences Inc and Celgene Corp. For the six-month period ended 30 September 2009, the health Fund’s performance was lower than its benchmark index, NASDAQ Biotech Price Index. However, the fund has exceeded its benchmark index for the 1-year period ended 31 March 2009.

Evan S. McCulloch has been lead manager of the health fund since September 1997. McCulloch is a designated Chartered Financial Analyst and has been with Franklin since 1992.

Eaton Vance Worldwide Health Sciences A (ETHSX) seeks capital appreciation by investing in a global and diversified portfolio of health sciences companies. It was incepted in July 1985.

This health fund invests in a worldwide health sciences portfolio. It invests in companies of all sizes, including those with lower market capitalizations. This health fund focuses on firms engaged in the development, production or distribution of products developed through healthcare research.

The fund has an expense ratio of 2.11% against a category average of 1.91%. As of September 2009, it has a portfolio turnover of 54% against a category average of 135%. The health funds top holdings include Johnson & Johnson, Roche Holding AG and Genzyme Corp. For the year ending August 31, 2009, the Fund had negative performance, primarily because of extreme pessimism in the broader stock market during the first half of the year. Nevertheless, the health Fund outperformed the S&P 500 Index, the MSCI World Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Life Sciences Index (the MSCI World Pharma Index) and its Lipper peer group.

Samuel D. Isaly has been lead manager of this health fund since July 1985. Prior to his current assignment, Isaly was a president and partner with Mehta and Isaly Asset Management.

Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals (FPHAX) was incepted in June 2001. This health fund seeks long-term capital appreciation.

A majority of this health fund’s assets, at least 80%, are invested in companies engaged in healthcare research and development as well as those involved in the production and distribution of drugs. The health fund invest in both foreign and domestic issuers and it is non-versified.

The health fund has an expense ratio of 1% against a category average of 1.91%. As of August 2009, it has a portfolio turnover of 240% against a category average of 135%. The funds top holdings include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co. As of October 2009, the investment performance of the health fund compares favorably to its benchmark for the three- and five-year periods, although the fund’s one-year cumulative total return was lower than its benchmark.

Andrew Oh has been lead manager of the health fund since July 2006. Before his current assignment, Oh was director and senior pharmaceuticals analyst for Leernik Swann & Company.

BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities A (SHSAX) seeks to provide long-term growth of capital. It was incepted in December 1999.

This health fund invests mainly in healthcare stocks of the Russell 3000 Index or in similar companies which includes foreign issuers. The fund invests in a wide range of companies, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices and healthcare services companies. It may invest in different types of instruments, common and preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants and depository receipts. The health fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in companies outside the health sector.

The health fund has an expense ratio of 1.43% against a category average of 1.91%. As of June 2009, it has a portfolio turnover of 144% against a category average of 135%. The funds top holdings include Alcon Inc, Pfizer Inc and Novartis AG. For the third quarter of 2009, the health fund outperformed its Lipper Health/Biotechnology Funds category average and its performance benchmark, the Russell 3000Health Care Index, but underperformed the broad-market S&P 500 Index. .

Thomas P. Callan has been lead manager of the fund since January 2005. Callan is a Chartered Financial Analyst and heads BlackRock’s Global Opportunities equity team.

Manning & Napier Life Sciences (EXLSX) seeks long-term growth. It was incepted in June 2001.

This health fund invests heavily in companies in the healthcare industry. It invests in domestic and foreign issuers, including American Depository Receipts (ADRs) and other U.S. dollar denominated securities of foreign issuers. The health fund is non-diversified.

The health fund has an expense ratio of 1.13% against a category average of 1.91%. As of September 2009, it has a portfolio turnover of 98% against a category average of 135%. The funds top holdings include Covidien Public Ltd, Inverness Medical Innovations and Eclipsys Corp.

Jeffrey S. Coons has been lead manager of this health fund since November 1999. Coons is a Chartered Financial Analyst and joined Manning & Napier Advisors in 1993.

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By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward.

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