Sleeping With Any Light Raises Risk of Obesity  Diabetes and More

Even dim light can disrupt sleep, raising the risk of serious health issues in older adults, a new study found. Dogs and cats who share their human’s bed tend to have a “higher trust level and a tighter bond with the humans that are in their lives. It’s a big display of trust on their part,” Varble said.

Sleep myths that may be keeping you from a good night’s rest. “Exposure to any amount of light during the sleep period was correlated with the higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension in both older men and women,” senior author Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told CNN.

“People should do their best to avoid or minimize the amount of light they are exposed to during sleep,” she added. A study published earlier this year by Zee and her team examined the role of light in sleep for healthy adults in their 20s. Sleeping for only one night with a dim light, such as a TV set with the sound off, raised the blood sugar and heart rate of the young people during the sleep lab experiment.

An elevated heart rate at night has been shown in prior studies to be a risk factor for future heart disease and early death, while higher blood sugar levels are a sign of insulin resistance, which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes. The dim light entered the eyelids and disrupted sleep in the young adults despite the fact that participants slept with their eyes closed, Zee said. Yet even that tiny amount of light created a deficit of slow wave and rapid eye movement sleep, the stages of slumber in which most cellular renewal occurs, she said.

Objective Measurements

The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Sleep, focused on seniors who “already are at higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said coauthor Dr. Minjee Kim, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement. “We wanted to see if there was a difference in frequencies of these diseases related to light exposure at night,” Kim said. Instead of pulling people into a sleep lab, the new study used a real-world setting.

Researchers gave 552 men and women between the ages of 63 and 84 an actigraph, a small device worn like a wristwatch that measures sleep cycles, average movement and light exposure. We’re actually measuring the amount of light the person is exposed to with a sensor on their body and comparing that to their sleep and wake activity over a 24-hour period,” Zee said. “What I think is different and notable in our study is that we have really objective data with this method.”

Fewer than half of the adults in the study got five hours of darkness at night. Zee and her team said they were surprised to find that fewer than half of the men and women in the study consistently slept in darkness for at least five hours each day. “More than 53% or so had some light during the night in the room,” she said. “In a secondary analysis, we found those who had higher amounts of light at night were also the most likely to have diabetes, obesity or hypertension.” In addition, Zee said, people who slept with higher levels of light were more likely to go to bed later and get up later, and “we know late sleepers tend to also have a higher risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.”

What to do

Strategies for reducing light levels at night include positioning your bed away from windows or using light-blocking window shades. Don’t charge laptops and cellphones in your bedroom where melatonin-altering blue light can disrupt your sleep. If low levels of light persist, try a sleep mask to shelter your eyes. Using melatonin for sleep is on the rise, study says, despite potential health harms. If you have to get up, don’t turn on lights if you don’t have to, Zee advised. If you do, keep them as dim as possible and illuminated only for brief periods of time.

Older adults often have to get up at night to visit the bathroom, due to health issues or side effects from medications, Zee said, so advising that age group to turn out all lights might put them at risk of falling. In that case, consider using nightlights positioned very low to the ground, and choose lights with an amber or red color. That spectrum of light has a longer wavelength, and is less intrusive and disruptive to our circadian rhythm, or body clock, than shorter wavelengths such as blue light.

Source: Sleeping with any light raises risk of obesity, diabetes and more, study finds – CNN

Heart rate increases in light room, and body can’t rest properly 

We showed your heart rate increases when you sleep in a moderately lit room,” said Daniela Grimaldi, MD, PhD, co-first author of the study and a research assistant professor of Neurology in the Division of Sleep Medicine. “Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That’s bad. Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day.”

There are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that regulate our physiology during the day and night. Sympathetic takes charge during the day and parasympathetic is supposed to control physiology at night, when it conveys restoration to the entire body.

How nighttime light during sleep can lead to diabetes and obesity

Investigators found insulin resistance occurred the morning after people slept in a light room. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar goes up. An earlier study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at a large population of healthy people who had exposure to light during sleep. They were more overweight and obese, Zee said.

“Now we are showing a mechanism that might be fundamental to explain why this happens. We show it’s affecting your ability to regulate glucose,” Zee said. The participants in the study weren’t aware of the biological changes in their bodies at night. “But the brain senses it,” Grimaldi said. “It acts like the brain of somebody whose sleep is light and fragmented. The sleep physiology is not resting the way it’s supposed to.”

Exposure to artificial light at night during sleep is common

Exposure to artificial light at night during sleep is common, either from indoor light emitting devices or from sources outside the home, particularly in large urban areas. A significant proportion of individuals (up to 40 percent) sleep with a bedside lamp on or with a light on in the bedroom, or keep a television on.

Light and its relationship to health is double edged.

“In addition to sleep, nutrition and exercise, light exposure during the daytime is an important factor for health, but during the night we show that even modest intensity of light can impair measures of heart and endocrine health,” Zee said. The study tested the effect of sleeping with 100 lux (moderate light) compared to 3 lux (dim light) in participants over a single night. The investigators discovered that moderate light exposure caused the body to go into a higher alert state.

In this state, the heart rate increases as well as the force with which the heart contracts and the rate of how fast the blood is conducted to your blood vessels for oxygenated blood flow.

Zee’s top tips for reducing light during sleep

  1. Don’t turn lights on. If you need to have a light on (which older adults may want for safety), make it a dim light that is closer to the floor.
  2. Color is important. Amber or a red or orange light is less stimulating for the brain. Don’t use white or blue light and keep it far away from the sleeping person.
  3. Blackout shades or eye masks are good if you can’t control the outdoor light. Move your bed so the outdoor light isn’t shining on your face.

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6 clever tips for a great night’s sleep NewsNet5, Ohio

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Melatonin Overdoses In Kids Increase 530% Over Past Decade


Over the past decade, the number of children overdosing on melatonin, a sleep aid, has increased by 530%, according to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The largest increase, a 38% jump, came in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, which the study’s authors say was likely because more children were spending more time at home.In 2021 alone, more than 50,000 calls were placed to poison control centers in the United States about melatonin ingestion by kids, the study found.

“Most were unintentional exposure, meaning the parent did not give the child melatonin,” said ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, also a board-certified OBGYN. “So the implication is the child got into it themselves.” Here are four things for parents to know to help keep kids safe.

1. Melatonin is a widely-accessible supplement.

Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. In the U.S., melatonin supplements are considered dietary supplements, which means they are accessible to the public without the regulations of a prescription drug.

Melatonin supplements come in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid and even gummies, which may make them more attractive to kids. According to the study’s authors, “Increased sales, availability, and widespread use have likely resulted in increased access and exposure risk among children in the home.”

2. Melatonin has not been widely studied in kids.

There have not yet been enough studies on melatonin and kids to know the full impact of the supplement, according to the NIH. Even in adults, according to the NIH, the long-term impacts of melatonin are not well-known, even if the supplement does appear to be mostly safe with short-term use. With kids, because melatonin is a hormone, there is a possibility that taking it by supplement could impact hormonal development like puberty and menstruation, according to the NIH.

3. Melatonin ingestion by a child is a medical emergency

According to Ashton, when a child ingests melatonin without adult supervision, it is a medical emergency that requires immediate action. “You either want to bring them to an emergency room or contact a poison control center,” she said. Symptoms of melatonin ingestion in kids includes abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, excessive tiredness and labored breathing.

4. Parents should store melatonin out of kids’ reach.

Ashton said parents should keep all medications and supplements, including melatonin, out of the reach of kids, even young teenagers. Bottle tops should also be kept securely closed, according to Ashton, who encouraged parents to talk to their kids about medication safety.

“You always want to use any medication exposure as an opportunity to really teach that child about medication, that it should only be given by an adult, is not candy and can have consequences both good and bad,” she said. The CDC also has additional tips HERE for keeping medication safely away from kids.

By Katie Kindelan

Source: Melatonin overdoses in kids increase 530% over past decade: What parents need to know to keep kids safe

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It’s not easy to get good sleep, especially during a worrisome pandemic with no end in sight, so it’s not surprising that bottles of sleep-inducing melatonin pills have become bedside staples. But this increased availability of melatonin at home, particularly in easy-to-consume forms like gummies, has had serious, and in some cases deadly, consequences for the children who either accidentally get their hands on it or are given it by a caregiver.

A new study published by the CDC found that melatonin overdoses in children increased 530% from 2012 to 2021, with the largest spike — a 38% increase — occurring from 2019 to 2020, when the COVID pandemic started. The researchers looked at melatonin overdoses in children and teens. More than 260,000 cases were reported to US poison control centers over the last decade, including more than 4,000 hospitalizations and nearly 300 that resulted in intensive care.

Five children required mechanical ventilation and two children — a 3-month-old and a 1-year-old — died at home following melatonin poisoning. The researchers said child-resistant packaging for melatonin “should be considered” and that healthcare providers need to better warn parents about the supplement’s “potential toxic consequences.”

The study’s lead researcher Dr. Karima Lelak, who is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, said melatonin may not be as harmless as people make it out to be, and that safe storage is absolutely critical. “Parents should really see melatonin just as any other medication that has the potential to do harm to kids, and it can be even more dangerous because it can look like candy,” Lelak told BuzzFeed News. “If a parent takes their melatonin after reading this paper and puts it in their medicine cabinet, I am humbled because I think that’s really a big take-home point: safe storage.”

Melatonin supplements work by mimicking melatonin, a hormone naturally found in our bodies that is produced by the brain in response to darkness. Supplements are mostly used to treat sleep disorders, but they’re an accessible over-the-counter product anyone can buy and use to help improve sleep (and they’re often promoted to parents as a sleep aid for children). Melatonin is regulated by the FDA as a dietary supplement, requires no prescription to take, and is widely available in pill, liquid, and gummy form.

The majority of melatonin overdoses were accidental, occurred at home, and were treated in a setting outside of healthcare, the researchers found; most involved boys younger than 5. Melatonin consumption comprised about 5% of all childhood overdoses reported to poison control centers in 2021, compared with 0.6% in 2012, the study found. The supplement was the most frequently consumed substance among kids reported to poison control centers in 2020, likely because children were spending more time at home due to pandemic-related school closures and stay-at-home orders.

The 10-year study also showed that melatonin ingestions are leading to more serious outcomes over time. Whereas most hospitalized patients involved teenagers who may have intentionally taken too much of the hormone, the biggest jump in hospital admissions occurred among kids younger than 5 who accidentally overdosed on melatonin. It’s still unclear why the severity of melatonin ingestions among kids is getting worse, but the researchers speculate that quality control issues with the supplements themselves may play a role.

Melatonin sales in the US surged 150% between 2016 and 2020 in response to public demand. Studies conducted in Canada have shown that melatonin sold in stores often fails to match some of its label’s claims in terms of dosage, with the most variation found in the chewable products that kids are more likely to consume. This research has led to some important changes in Canada’s health policies involving melatonin, including the banning of certain over-the-counter products. However, such “drug quality studies and legislation initiatives in the United States are lacking,” the researchers wrote.

What’s more, these studies have found that some melatonin products are often contaminated with “potentially clinically significant” doses of serotonin, a byproduct of melatonin, that can lead to serotonin toxicity in kids, causing symptoms such as confusion, high blood pressure, overactive reflexes, and a rapid heartbeat. Most of the children included in the study who accidentally consumed too much melatonin didn’t have any symptoms, but those who did had gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or central nervous system issues, including nausea, drowsiness, abdominal pain, and vomiting, Lelak said.

It’s difficult to know how much melatonin is too much because there isn’t an established dosage deemed safe for consumption, according to Lelak. It could be one pill or an entire bottle, but it will depend on how old someone is, the symptoms they’re showing after ingestion (if any), and their body size. About 15% to 25% of children and adolescents have trouble falling and staying asleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the group warns, parents should speak with their pediatrician before giving their kids melatonin.

Dr. Shalini Paruthi, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, previously told BuzzFeed News that parents should wait until their kids are at least 3 years old before giving them melatonin because children younger than that have “unformed neurological and endocrine systems.” It’s also a good idea to first address poor sleep behaviors to ensure kids are getting quality sleep…


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Burned By Tech Stocks? Consider These 3 ETFs Instead

Unfortunately, hopping off the tech-stock roller coaster may be harder than you think. Seven of the largest 10 companies in the S&P 500 index are in tech (eight if you consider Tesla a tech company).

Tech’s influence on the broader market

The list of S&P 500 tech stocks includes Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon. All three have negative year-to-date performance. Worse, these stocks and their large-cap tech peers are heavily represented in index funds and ESG funds, not to mention tech funds.

There are times when increasing your exposure to a broad market index fund can be a defensive tactic. But that strategy won’t help right now if you’re sick of getting burned by tech.

What you can do is increase your exposure to ETFs that invest in stable sectors like consumer goods, utilities, and healthcare. Because these sectors sell products and services that people need (vs. want), they’re less sensitive to temporary economic conditions.

For an idea of how these sectors have behaved differently from tech recently. It shows the performance of three stable sector ETFs vs. the Nasdaq 100 index over the last six months.

Those sector ETFs may look very comforting, but there’s a huge caveat here. Six months is a short window of time.

This is why changing up your portfolio in response to temporary market conditions can easily backfire. When tech eventually stabilizes, you may regret overinvesting in lower-growth sectors.

On the other hand, diversifying more outside of tech — or any one sector — is smart. That’s especially true in two scenarios. One, you may not have realized your heavy exposure to tech if that exposure is mostly through funds. And two, your risk tolerance may be lower than it was when you built your portfolio, and now you’re ready to get more conservative.

If one of those situations applies, read on for some key stats on the three ETFs shown in the chart above.

1. Consumer Staples ETF

Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF holds 99 large-, mid-, and small-cap consumer staples stocks. The fund’s top 10 holdings include Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Costco, and Pepsi.

FTEC’s 30-day SEC yield, a standardized measure of dividend yield, is 2.11%. The fund’s total average return over the last five years is 9.74%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
KO THE COCA-COLA CO. 64.64 -1.52 -2.30%
COST COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP. 531.72 -30.28 -5.39%
PEP PEPSICO INC. 171.71 -5.79 -3.26%

2. Utilities ETF

Vanguard Utilities ETF holds 64 utilities stocks such as Duke Energy and wind and solar energy-producer NextEra Energy. The top 10 holdings comprise 54% of VPU’s total net assets — a fairly heavy concentration.

The fund pays out a 2.7% dividend yield, per the 30-day SEC yield formula. The five-year average annual returns are 10.87%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DUK DUKE ENERGY CORP. 110.09 -3.71 -3.26%
NEE NEXTERA ENERGY INC. 71.02 -2.51 -3.41%

3. Healthcare ETF

The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund invests in healthcare companies that are also in the S&P 500. This approach gives you the sector exposure you want, plus a focus on larger, established organizations.

There are 64 stocks in the XLV portfolio, including UnitedHealth Group, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. Like VPU, this fund has a top-10 concentration of more than 50%.

XLV has a 30-day SEC yield of 1.3% and has returned an annual average of 15% over the last five years.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UNH UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC. 508.55 -15.87 -3.03%
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 180.56 -3.03 -1.65%
PFE PFIZER INC. 49.07 -1.44 -2.85%

Diversify for stability

The recent tech sell-off is a reminder not to bet too big on any one sector — even technology. To diversify outside of tech and build more stability into your portfolio, consider ETFs in less cyclical sectors. Consumer staples, utilities, and healthcare are three examples.

If tech stocks are roller coasters, stocks in these stable sectors are more like tilt-a-whirls. You may still need a seatbelt, but the highs and lows should be less extreme.

Source: Burned by tech stocks? Consider these 3 ETFs instead | Fox Business


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Why Jack Dorsey’s First-Tweet NFT Plummeted 99% In Value In A Year

In December 2020, Jack Dorsey created a non-fungible token (NFT) out of his first-ever Twitter post. He turned a static image of a five-word tweet into a digital file stored on a blockchain, and voila, an NFT was born. A few months later, the image sold for a stunning $2.9 million. Yet in an auction this past week, no one bid more than $280 for it. And even current bids on OpenSea only amount to about $10,000, a 99% drop in value. What happened?

Dorsey’s NFT initially garnered little interest, with some people bidding a few thousand dollars in December 2020—a time when NFTs still had few believers. But in March 2021, the market entered hype mode, with monthly sales on OpenSea jumping to nearly $150 million, up from just $8 million two months prior.

Iranian crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi got swept up in the frenzy, buying Dorsey’s NFT for $2.9 million. He tells Forbes he paid such a hefty sum due to the NFT’s uniqueness and association with such a valuable company as Twitter.

While you could argue that Dorsey’s first-tweet NFT has historical significance, the $2.9 million price tag is nearly impossible to justify. The bubble price Estavi paid epitomizes the greater fool theory at work. “What is the utility of that NFT?

Does Jack Dorsey take you out to dinner in Silicon Valley?” says Mitch Lacsamana, an NFT collector and head of marketing for an NFT trading group. “What is the real value proposition here? I think time has probably told us, and it’s probably nothing.”

On April 5, Estavi put the NFT up for auction for 14,969 ether, or about $50 million. Embarrassingly, no one bid more than $280. Estavi says “no one knows” why the bids came in so low. It seems that few people took it seriously. “Bidders just realized what it was–a publicity stunt. A way to get exposure,” says Blake Moser, an NFT collector who has nearly 400 NFTs. “I do think Sina Estavi accomplished what he was looking for–exposure to his NFT.”

Estavi has indeed gotten attention, but he seems severely out of touch with the rapidly changing NFT market. “The market isn’t ready to jump into literally anything that a celebrity or someone of high stature might release,” Lacsamana says. “I think last year was a really good time for that, but a lot of people have grown weary of cash-grab tactics.”

While the failed auction shows that NFT hype has waned, the market is still very active, with trading volume hovering between $2 to $3 billion a month on OpenSea, up from $150 million a year ago. Prices for some NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club remain near all-time highs.

Estavi’s NFT saga seems to be a case of an ill-advised $2.9 million purchase, buyer’s remorse and a new bid for attention. Estavi himself has a sketchy history. His startup, Oracle Bridge, says it will allow blockchain platforms to ingest data more easily, but today it seems to be little more than a white paper.

Estavi also claims he was arrested last year in Iran and had to shut down the company for nine months while he was in prison. “They accused me of disrupting the economic system,” he says vaguely. Now he’s trying to start the company up again. Over the past day, bids for the Dorsey tweet NFT have risen to about $10,000. Estavi says he won’t sell for anything less than $50 million.

I lead our fintech coverage at Forbes and also cover crypto. I edit our annual Fintech 50 and 30 Under 30 for fintech, and I’ve written frequently about leadership and corporate

Source: Why Jack Dorsey’s First-Tweet NFT Plummeted 99% In Value In A Year


Critics: By:

NFTs are traded in NFT marketplaces, which have structured platforms like eBay’s. Most NFTs are sold via auctions, although some sell at fixed prices. Some marketplaces specialize in a type of NFTs, e.g., art, games, sports, whereas others sell everything.

If you wish to create a new NFT (called minting) you can do so through any of the marketplaces. The largest marketplace is OpenSea, which in 2021 had about a 90% market share by dollar trading volume across marketplaces. 

There are fees for creating and trading NFTs, from upfront account setup fees and minting fees to sales fees. If you are going to create or trade NFTs, make sure you know a marketplace’s fee structure. To get a sense of fees collected, OpenSea collected about 8% of its sales volume in fees in January.

There may also be royalty fees (usually 10-30% of the sales price) that go to the original creator of an NFT every time a transaction in that NFT takes place. 

Through 2021, the top ten NFT collections had over $15 billion in historical trading value and around a 60% share of the total NFT market. The dominance of a few collections in the market is most likely due to a preference by NFT speculators to trade within collections. It is easier to value an NFT from a collection because there are other NFTs to compare it to.

It follows that, of the money a minority of traders make speculating in NFTs, most of it is from trading within collections. Clearly, informed traders know where the money is, but it is hard to believe that the market can absorb as many collections as there are today: 3,264, up from 193 a year ago. At some point, having so many collections defeats their purpose.

The evidence from the previous study is clear: most NFT speculative traders do not earn a positive return. From an investing perspective the results are unfortunate, but not surprising. Another aspect of trading in NFTs is that fraud within the NFT ecosystem is said to be rampant. The potential for “bad actors” to engage in nefarious selling and trading of NFTs (including counterfeit tokens or assets they don’t actually own) was described as a “contagion” by the CEO of one NFT platform.

The result is a situation where your NFT purchase could end up being worthless. Combining the difficulty of earning a positive return and the inherent risks, NFT trading is not a good proposition, so stay away. They have all the signs of being an investing fad that will likely pass.

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7 Best Biotech ETFs to Buy

1-17-768x534-5Biotech stocks face volatility but boast long-term potential. In 2020, it was the year for growth-oriented health care names as the world came to grips with coronavirus and hungered for potential treatments. But in 2021, as the pandemic matured and as some of the COVID-related successes were priced in, we saw many areas take a step back – including the once-popular sector of biotechnology.

In fact, over the last 12 months many leading biotech stocks are significantly in the red even though the broader S&P 500 has moved 22% higher. But as the old saying goes, investors make the most when they buy low and sell high. And some traders are starting to eye this pullback in biotech as a buying opportunity considering its long-term potential. If you’re bullish on the sector despite recent challenges in late 2021 and early 2022, here are some of the best biotech ETFs to buy.

iShares Biotechnology ETF (ticker: IBB)

The leading biotech ETF by assets, IBB has nearly $10 billion under management and is one of the most established ways to get exposure to the high-growth corner of health care. It also averages more than 2 million shares traded on any given day, making it a popular and liquid vehicle in what can sometimes be a volatile sector.

Top holdings among its roughly 370 positions at present include Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD). But buyer beware: These aren’t exactly small upstarts, as the pair is collectively worth nearly $200 billion in market value – and makes up more than 18% of the entire IBB portfolio between them. But for investors looking to play the bigger names in biotech, that may not be too much of a knock against this top iShares fund.

SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI)

The second-place biotech fund at present, with about $6 billion in assets, is this SPDR fund. While it is similarly focused on gene-editing companies, development-stage drugmakers and high-tech diagnostic firms, it differs significantly from IBB in its structure. Specifically, it has a smaller list of stocks at a lineup of only about 200 components.

What’s more, XBI aims to be “equal weight” with regular rebalancing to ensure no single stock has too big or too small a stake. That means you’ll find lesser-known biotech stocks like $5 billion gastroenterology specialist Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) and $3 billion oncology firm PTC Therapeutics Inc. (PTCT) side by side with the big boys to provide true exposure to the entire sector.

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG)

Differing from the prior two funds is ARKG, a roughly $5 billion actively managed ETF that’s designed to hold 50 or fewer holdings based on a unique set of internal metrics. In theory, this puts the cash behind the biggest opportunities – at least, based on the screening methodology designed by this biotech ETF’s managers, led by the famed investor Cathie Wood.

Right now the top single position is DNA screening test specialist Exact Sciences Corp. (EXAS), with a 7% weighting, followed by remote health care play Teladoc Health Inc. (TDOC). Of course, it’s also worth noting that these picks haven’t done all that well lately, and as a result ARKG is sitting on a 12-month loss of more than 50%. However, if you’re bullish long-term and want to trust management at this popular fund, this could be a bargain opportunity to stake out a position in this biotech ETF.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology ETF (FBT)

Another fund focused on a short list of high-octane biotechs is this nearly $2 billion First Trust offering that only holds a mere 30 total positions. No single holding tops 5%, however, so the cash is spread around this list pretty equally. Top holdings at present include $3 billion neurological treatment specialist Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc.

(ACAD) and $1 billion biotech FibroGen Inc. (FGEN), which focuses on various rare organ disorders. FBT has been very volatile lately, however its 17% loss over the last 12 months is actually much better than some of its peer biotech ETFs on this list. That shows this First Trust offering can find profits even in a troubled market through a focused list of high-quality components.

iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF (IDNA)

We’re now out of the billion-dollar biotech ETFs and into the smaller and more boutique offerings. This IDNA ETF from iShares is a good example of this, as the biotech ETF offers a focused fund with only 50 total components and a specific focus on “innovation in genomics, immunology and bioengineering.”

Right now that includes stocks like European megacap drugmaker Sanofi (SNY) as well as $5 billion oncology biotech Exelixis Inc. (EXEL). Though the strategy is narrow, the list of holdings is pretty diverse within this corner of the market. And though smaller, IDNA does enjoy $300 million in assets so it does have a decent amount of support across Wall Street.

Invesco Dynamic BioTech & Genome ETF (PBE)

A roughly $200 million biotech ETF, this Invesco fund is another tactical play on a subset of stocks in the sector – this time, involving gene-editing and DNA-related capabilities. That includes big biotech names like the $60 billion Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

(REGN) as well as smaller up-and-comers like Ireland-based “orphan drug” researcher Alkermes PLC (ALKS). Though shares have been volatile, a decline of 20% over the last 12 months puts this smaller biotech ETF ahead of many of its larger peers, and that may make it worth a look in 2022 as a result of this resilience.

Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares ETF (LABU)

No discussion of fast-moving biotech ETFs would be complete without the fastest-moving fund of them all – this “leveraged” offering from Direxion aims to deliver 300% of the daily returns of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index. That’s great news when times are good, like when this ETF nearly tripled from its late 2020 lows to a high that briefly crested $185 in early 2021.

However, it’s worth noting this biotech ETF sits in the low $20 range at present for a gut-wrenching decline of almost 90% from its 52-week high. If you’re not afraid of the big risks and want to bet on biotech, LABU may have a limited role in your portfolio. But considering the current momentum is to the downside, investors may want to tread very carefully here.

Here are the seven best biotech ETFs to buy:

  • iShares Biotechnology ETF (IBB)
  • SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI)
  • ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG)
  • First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology ETF (FBT)
  • iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF (IDNA)
  • Invesco Dynamic BioTech & Genome ETF (PBE)
  • Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares ETF (LABU)
Jeff Reeves is a veteran capital markets journalist and an active individual investor. Since 2017, he has written about dividend stocks and exchange-traded funds for US News & World Report. His work has also appeared on CNBC, the Fox Business Network, the Wall Street Journal digital network, USA Today and CNN Money.

Source: 7 Best Biotech ETFs to Buy | Investing | US News


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