A defensive ASX ETF for a recessionary environment: experts

In an ageing world newly aware of the potential threats posed by pandemics, healthcare shares have received plenty of attention lately.

| More on:
Stethoscope with a piggy bank and hundred dollar notes.

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

There are a wide range of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available to Aussie investors.

Today we look at an ASX ETF that tracks a specific industry, namely healthcare. And we look at why two financial pros list it as a 'buy'.

A defensive ASX ETF

In an ageing world with the global pandemic still very much in circulation, healthcare shares have received plenty of attention these past two years.

Aussie investors looking for exposure to international healthcare stocks with a single investment may wish to look into the BetaShares Global Healthcare ETF (ASX: DRUG).

This ASX ETF is invested in a wide range of international healthcare companies. Some 45% of them are involved in pharmaceuticals, with 19% focused on healthcare equipment, and 11% in the biotechnology space.

DRUG's top four holdings are UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE: UNH), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) and Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE).

Year-to-date, this ASX ETF is down 2.4%. That compares to a 3.9% loss posted by the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) so far in 2022.

Why these two fundies list DRUG as a buy

Speaking with Livewire, Felicity Thomas from Shaw and Partners said DRUG was an ASX ETF to buy.

According to Thomas:

If you think we're going into a recessionary environment, you want to tilt your portfolio to be a little bit more defensive. Healthcare is defensive and we've got an ageing population globally, so I think it's a really good long-term play

Now we're not looking at an imminent recession here in Australia just yet. But a growing cohort of economists is beginning to predict that the United States could be heading down that road sooner than later. And where the world's biggest economy goes, most others tend to follow.

Steering clear of potential recessions, Ben Nash from Pivot Wealth also listed this ASX ETF as a buy, citing the immense expenditures going into healthcare globally.

Nash said:

I think that we're seeing huge amounts of money being spent on healthcare in Australia and globally. The US is one of the biggest global markets and healthcare costs are pretty staggering over there. I think that plus the secondary exposure to the property market makes this one a solid performer for the medium to long term.

Investors looking for an ASX ETF to add to their portfolios for the longer term may want to run their slide rule across DRUG.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on ETFs

ETF written with a blue digital background.
ETFs

4 ASX ETFs to supercharge your wealth

These could be the ETFs you're looking for in 2024.

Read more »

The letters ETF sit in orange on top of a chart with a magnifying glass held over the top of it
ETFs

Meet the ASX's new NASDAQ ETFs

The ASX has just seen its Nasdaq ETF count double.

Read more »

child in superman outfit pointing skyward, indicating a rising share price
ETFs

Is the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS) a good buy for beginners?

Should new investors start with the VAS ETF?

Read more »

A businessman holding a world globe in one hand, representing global investment.
ETFs

These ASX ETFs could be world class options in February

These ETFs could give your portfolio a boost in 2024. Here's what you need to know about them.

Read more »

Woman on her phone with diagrams of tech sector related elements linking with each other.
ETFs

Here are 3 exciting ASX tech ETFs to buy right now

These ETFs give investors access to some quality tech stocks.

Read more »

A smiling little boy helps his father plant a tree, indicating that big things grow from a small beginning.
ETFs

I'm planning to buy this top ASX ETF for my child

This investment ticks many of the boxes I’m looking for.

Read more »

A group of young ASX investors sitting around a laptop with an older lady standing behind them explaining how investing works.
ETFs

Buy and hold these ASX ETFs for 10 years or more

These ETFs could be top long term investments. But what are you buying?

Read more »

a couple clink champagne glasses on board a private aircraft with gourmet food plates set in front of them. They are wearing designer clothes and looking wealthy.
ETFs

How this rocketing ASX ETF is tapping into the billionaire-making AI revolution

The AI revolution has added billions more dollars to the fortunes of dozens of billionaires in 2024.

Read more »