The new coronavirus from China has claimed more than 800 lives and there are now more than 37,000 documented cases of the respiratory illness worldwide, making it more deadly than the 2003 SARS epidemic.
Predictably, the coronavirus outbreak is slamming an array of asset classes, but it's also providing a predictable lift to some healthcare stocks and the related exchange-traded funds. The “Wuhan virus” is also providing an ideal opportunity for active traders to capitalize on opportunities with leveraged healthcare ETFs.
What follows are some geared healthcare ETFs that are enjoying fabulous February's and may have more in store over the next couple of weeks.
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares (LABU)
Speculation is swirling that some smaller biotechnology companies could be somewhat close to getting coronavirus treatments to market (close means several months away) and that's lifting the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: LABU).
Designed to deliver triple the daily returns of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index, LABU is up more than 20% month-to-date, confirming its utility as a coronavirus play while making it the best performer in Direxion's stable of geared funds.
Interestingly, both LABU and its bearish counterpart – the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares (NYSE: LABD) – have seen outflows to start February.
Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares (PILL)
Like the aforementioned LABU, the Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical & Medical Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: PILL) tracks an equal-weight index, giving it more exposure to small-cap stocks. That's an advantageous, if not fleeting perk against the coronavirus backdrop.
PILL looks to deliver triple the daily returns of the S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index and is up about 10% this month, putting it among the top 10 Direxion leveraged funds since Feb. 1.
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares (CURE)
The Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: CURE), one of the oldest and most popular leveraged healthcare ETFs, is getting a coronavirus lift of its own although the bulk of its components are larger, older pharmaceuticals names, such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE).
CURE, one of the least volatile names in the volatile world of leveraged ETFs, is higher by roughly 12% this month, putting it in the upper tier of Direxion's geared funds in February.