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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Powershares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF, SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF, iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals and Market Vectors Pharmaceutical

CHICAGO, Aug. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Powershares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF (AMEX:PJP-Free Report), SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (AMEX:XPH-Free Report), iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:IHE-Free Report) and Market Vectors Pharmaceutical (AMEX:PPH-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Pharma ETF Investing 101

With the year coming to an end, the worst of the patent cliff faced by the pharmaceutical sector in recent times is over. Although genericization will continue, the major patent expiries are over and done with.

Many companies which had faced generic headwinds in the last couple of years should continue to see a sustained improvement in results as they move into 2014. Cost-cutting, downsizing, streamlining of the pipeline, growth in emerging markets and new product launches should support growth. Meanwhile, increased pipeline visibility and appropriate utilization of cash should increase confidence in the sector. (Read: Biotech Earnings Put these ETFs in focus)

Acquisitions & Divestments

Acquisitions as well as divestments will continue in the pharma sector with several companies pursuing bolt-on acquisitions, in-licensing deals and collaborations for the development of pipeline candidates. The in-licensing of promising mid-stage candidates by big pharma companies has gone up significantly – this makes sense as it helps the companies cut down on the time and cost involved in developing a product from scratch.

A major part of the in-licensing activity is focused on therapeutic areas like oncology, central nervous system disorders, diabetes and immunology/inflammation. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) market is also attracting a lot of attention. (Read:

Another recent trend is the divestment/monetization of non-core assets so that the companies may focus on their core areas of expertise. Biosimilars are also a focus area.

Restructuring activities are also gaining momentum as large pharma companies are looking to cut costs and streamline their operations. Most of these companies are re-evaluating their pipelines and discontinuing programs which do not have a favorable risk-benefit profile.

Emerging Markets

The pharma industry has also been looking towards emerging markets for growth. However, bribery investigations on some pharma companies in China, one of the most promising emerging markets, could put a lid on near-term growth. (Read: 3 ETFs to cash in on ageing global population)

New Drugs to Drive Growth

Several important products have gained approval so far this year including oral multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, type II diabetes drug Invokana, Liptruzet (cholesterol), Fetzima (major depressive disorder), Imbruvica (mantle cell lymphoma), Gazyva (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and Sovaldi (HCV). Tecfidera is off to a strong start with its sales surpassing expectations by a wide margin.

Pharma ETFs in Focus

Highlighted below are some pharma ETFs - ETFs present a low-cost and convenient way to get a diversified exposure to the sector. See all Healthcare ETFs here.

Powershares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF (AMEX:PJP-Free Report)

PJP, launched in Jun 2005 by Invesco PowerShares, tracks the Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Intellidex Index. The fund covers only health care stocks. The top 3 holdings are large-cap biotech companies, Celgene (5.21%), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (4.99%) and Amgen (4.96%). The total assets of the fund as of Dec 10, 2013 were $901.1 million representing 30 holdings. The fund's expense ratio is 0.63% while dividend yield is 1.03%. The trading volume is roughly 203,608 shares per day.

SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (AMEX:XPH-Free Report)

XPH, launched in Jun 2006, tracks the S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index. This ETF is totally dedicated to the pharma sector with the top 3 holdings being Endo Health Solutions Inc. (4.83%), Santarus, Inc. (4.66%) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Limited Company (4.30%).

Total assets as of Dec 6, 2013 were $702.6 million representing 32 holdings. The fund's expense ratio is 0.35% and dividend yield is 0.71%. The trading volume is roughly 55,295 shares per day.

iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:IHE-Free Report)

IHE, launched in May 2006, seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Pharmaceuticals Index. The fund mainly consists of pharma companies (99.72%). Short term securities and other/unidentified investments account for 0.15% and 0.12% of the fund, respectively.

The top 3 holdings of this fund are large-cap pharma companies are Johnson & Johnson (10.41%), Pfizer (9.53%) and Merck (7.77%). The total assets of the fund as of Dec 9, 2013 were $550.9 million representing 39 holdings. The fund's expense ratio is 0.45% with the dividend yield being 1.12%. The trading volume is roughly 13,464 shares per day.

Market Vectors Pharmaceutical (AMEX:PPH-Free Report)

PPH was launched in Dec 2011 and tracks the Market Vectors U.S. Listed Pharmaceutical 25 Index. The top 3 holdings of this fund are large-cap pharma companies - Johnson & Johnson (9.04%), Novartis (7.23%) and Pfizer (7.09%). The total assets as of Nov 30, 2013 were $257.0 million representing 25 holdings. While the expense ratio is 0.35%, dividend yield is 4.24%. The trading volume is roughly 21,930 shares per day.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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