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The failing economy has hit stocks in industries that many thought to be recession resistant, like the medical device makers. Even Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), the leader in the group, signaled lower revenue and earnings estimates.

We identify interesting stocks and sectors through the use of our proprietary software. It considers recent Trends, the stock's Cycle, and adds a bit of Anticipation. Since we use it to spot promising ETF's, we call it the TCA-ETF model. (For new readers, there is a more complete description of our methods and ratings at the end of the article.)

A Bottom for Medical Device Stocks?

Our sector ETF universe includes the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Medical Devices Index Fund (NYSEARCA:IHI). The fund holds 41 securities. The top ten make up 57% of the weight, so diversification is pretty good. While the beta is only 1.05, the P/E ratio is over 25. These are stocks where earnings growth is necessary to justify the prices.

The chart below gives the picture behind our TCA-ETF rating.

Ihi

You can see the sharp decline in value last fall, along with the rest of the market. There is a recent slight uptrend after a period of base-building, a pattern that the model often favors.

Other Viewpoints

Jordan Kahn at In the Money, one of our featured sites, has a trading position in IHI. Last week he noted that the sector continued to look positive.

IHI also got a mention late last month from ETF Trends. Max Chen cites fundamental research from Sageworks showing an increase in the home health care market, attributed to the aging baby boomers.

There is also the possibility that the sector is enjoying the Obama effect, something suggested last November by Gary Gordon.

Other Health Care Sectors

We should note that the model also has buy ratings on three other health-related sectors: IHF, IBB, and IYH. In our weekly reports we try to feature a group that we have not discussed recently. It is often not the top-rated sector, as one can see from the weekly rankings.

Dr. Brett Steenbarger also notes the relative strength in Health Care sectors.

Weekly TCA-ETF Rankings

The ratings reflect prices and signals as of Thursday night, February 5th.In our daily trading program (for accredited and institutional investors) we buy the top eight sectors. In our weekly program for individual investors (free report available upon request) we stick with the top six sectors. During the last week we gained about 1.5%, while the market was up about 5%. The model does not try to "guess bottoms" or whether a perceived trading range is going to hold up. It does well -- very well -- when there is a break leading to a sustained move. We respect the negative signals, which helped us avoid major losses in this program last fall.

Because of the current ratings, we are moving to a neutralstance in theTicker Sense Blogger Sentiment poll. While only seveb of our fifty-seven sectors are in the "buy" range, there are others that are quite close. We have already sold one of the three inverse ETF's and another is about to exit the top five. As we have noted in recent weeks, the situation depends very much on political events. It continues to be a time of uncertainty.

020809


Note for New Readers

Our weekly ETF Update is designed to assist both investors and traders interested in ETF's and Sector Rotation. Before turning to the current rankings, let us undertake a review for readers new to this series.

Our Method. In thispast article, we described our basic methodology and why we believe the rankings are useful for fundamental traders and technical traders alike. While we urge readers to check out the entire article, the key point is that ETF's pose challenges and opportunities different from investment in individual stocks. The fundamentals may be more difficult to assess. Eve n with a good grasp on fundamental trends, there is a lot of technically-based trading in ETF's. This means that those trading with a fundamental approach(and we do this as well) want to monitor the "hot money" moves. Here is an article on that point.

The system synopsis. We look at Trending sectors, Cyclical Sectors, and build in an element of Anticipation for both entry and exit -- thus the name of the model, TCA-ETF. While we do not reveal the exact methodology for spotting trends and cycles, the system is not a "black box." The basic elements are used by many, and widely reported. We even discuss the need for human analysisas opposed to black box trading.

We report the rankings each week, now on the weekend with a one-day delay, using the Thursday output from the model. We monitor and trade this daily, and offer a free report (request via the email address on the top left of the site) for those interested in our weekly trading program.

Source: Prospects for iShares Medical Devices ETF