Vanguard Health Care Fund advanced 4.0% during the fiscal half-year ended July 31, 2006. This compared with 0.7% for the S&P 500 Index; a flat 0.0% for the fund’s benchmark, the S&P Health Sector Index; and –4.3% for the average return of health/biotechnology funds. Edward Owens wrote: "We believe that the rise in interest rates and higher energy costs have created a difficult environment for equities. The health care sector usually fares relatively well during tough periods, but it is not immune. We will continue to invest with a long-term focus, maintaining appropriate diversification and attention to valuations."
During the six-month period, we made several changes in the fund’s holdings. We added UnitedHealth Group, which was priced attractively, and we added to our positions in St. Jude Medical and in Schering-Plough, because of its strong anticholesterol franchise. We reduced our exposure to Gilead Sciences as well as to Schering AG, which was acquired by Bayer.Click on "Semiannual Report" at this link