US Medical Devices (IHI) : A ‘buy & hold’ rationale ?

iShares Medical Devices - IHI - 06/10/2017

Short Term Strategy : Positive (80%) / Trend +
Long Term Strategy : Positive (95%) / Trend +

Characteristics of the ETF

The ETF IHI (iShares), created in 05/2006, replicates an index based on a selection of 51 stocks specialized in the manufacture and distribution of medical equipment.

The index tracked is the Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index. It is a geographically highly specialized index, composed mainly of US stocks and quoted in USD.

The expense ratio of this ETF is 0.44%, in the high average of our selection and the AUM is approximately $ 1406m. The replication method is physical and dividends are distributed on a quarterly basis.

Alternative ETFs: XHE (SPDR, in USD)


Index & components

IHI replicates an index composed of growth companies, most often with high technological content. These companies, which may be competitors, have developed special technologies (cardiology, Urology, neurology, etc.) that make it possible to improve the situation of patients, such as Medtronics (10.1% of the index) or Boston Scientific (5% of the index) while other companies provide equipment for hospital management or surgery (eg Baxter). These companies are not peers to companies in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sector, in the sense that they do not sell drugs and do not develop molecules but devices that will use a given technology (electrical, electronic, ultrasound ...) to improve the situation of patients, such as pacemakers, which are usually accompanied by specific treatments marketed by the laboratories.

This index is quite deep, but the top ten companies account for more than 62% of the index, as it is a fairly capital-intensive sector, a research and development consumer and requires industrial and marketing capabilities.

The performance of the index (in USD, its currency of quotation) is outstanding with 241% cumulative gain since its introduction on the US market (Nyse) in May 2006, a decade ago while the remaining huge potential makes it a "Buy & Hold" investment.

The key elements for the industry are technological innovation, driven by computational power and software development, regulation (health policy / reimbursement), and demographic impacts such as the aging of the population that ensure a natural growth to this market. The long-term potential seems very high because technological innovation, and in particular the development of nano-technologies, is expected to shake the market over the coming years, the sector appears at the beginning of an innovation cycle.

In the short term, uncertainties in US health policy will prevail, while valuation multiples are relatively high (30x PERs), but justified by strong and steady growth.


Latest developments

IHI's performance has been more than 27% since the beginning of the year, which is about twice the S & P500 (+ 13.4%), after an increase of 8.7% in 2016.

Despite doubts about the US health policy in the wake of the failed reform of Obamacare, the US medical equipment sector shows a very strong momentum as it addresses a global market where technological innovations are spreading more and more quickly. The market essentially values ​​the product cycle in a market that is growing twice as fast as the US economy, as well as the consolidation of the sector, which continues, in particular, through major companies such as Medtronics or Johnson & Johnson.

IHI is therefore a growth ETF which regularly gives the opportunity to take position (during the few consolidation periods) in a very profitable sector - with operating margins of the order of 15 to 20% - growing steadily and whose medium-term potential is huge.

Monthly data

The monthly chart illustrates perfectly what is a long-term bullish trend. The consolidations are of two types, those that fail on theEMA13 and those that stop on the EMA26. It is on these levels that one must buy this index. For the moment this one is in high zone, which is not necessarily the sign of an imminent correction.

These upward drifts can last for many months before a correction (2 months on average) finally takes place.

Weekly data

On the weekly chart, we can observe a very strong upward trend, but the oscillations are more clearly identifiable. The EMA100E often tested during the correction phases and the MACD crosses have worked quite well in recent times to provide short term buy/sell signals.

The current short-term phase is rather bullish after a minimum correction this summer.

ETF Objective

IHI is an ETF which replicates the Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index (51 companies)


Inception date 01/05/2006
Expense ratio 0,44%
Issuer iShares
Benchmark Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index
Ticker IHI
ISIN US4642888105
EU-SD status Yes
Currency $
Exchange NYSE
Assets Under Management 1 423 M$
Dividends Distribution
Currency risk No
Number of Holdings 51
Risk 3/5

Country Breakdown

United States 100%

Sector Breakdown

Health Care Equipment 86%
Life Sciences Services 12%
Health Care supplies & Techno 2%

Top Ten Holdings

Medtronic 10%
Abbott laboratories 9%
Thermo Fisher 8%
Danaher Corp 6%
Stryker Corp 6%
Becton Dickinson 5%
Boston Scientific 5%
Intuitiv Surgical 5%
Baxter International 4%
Zimmer Biomet Holding 3%