IBB Looks Ripe For A Turnaround In 2017

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

Will the confluence of abating political uncertainty, proposed self-regulation on drug price increases, potential merger and acquisition activity and chronically depressed valuations bode well for IBB in 2017? The biotech cohort saw a very tumultuous 2016 to say the least as the political backdrop, drug pricing debate and presidential election took the headlines. Biotech stocks responded erratically to any news that would have a perceived impact on the cohort during this timeframe. Since Donald Trump voiced his concerns over drug pricing, the initial rally in biotech has largely eroded to pre-election levels. The iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) traded in a wide range throughout 2016 with pronounced volatility throughout the presidential election cycle registering a range of ~$240 to $344 or a 104-point range (Figure 1). The upcoming 2017 year is shaping up to be an eventful one with continued uncertainty about the political climate, governmental stance on mergers and acquisitions and potential deregulation. Another hot button issue will be the potential restructuring of the Affordable Care Act and proposed favorable tax and repatriation rates. Continue reading "IBB Looks Ripe For A Turnaround In 2017"

Biotech's Upward Trend - IBB Breaks $300

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction and Backdrop

As of recent, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) has caught an upward trend and briefly crossed the $300 per share threshold for the first time over the past 9 months. The political backdrop has been very contentious and even more so after two of the three presidential debates have wrapped up. I’ve written several pieces evaluating the massive sell-offs in the biotech sector and how extraneous events such as oil, China, interest rates and to a large extent political threats are merely noise in the larger picture. These external events provide great buying opportunities in high-quality companies or the cohort itself as represented by the sector ETF, IBB as a proxy. There’s no doubt that there’s at least a loose correlation if not a direct correlation between opportunistic political posturing by political front-runners (i.e. Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) and the chronic price suppression of IBB. Each time a tweet is pushed out to social media regarding drug pricing and/or specific attacks on pharmaceutical companies, the entire cohort takes a significant hit as reflected in the price action of IBB. I contend that political posturing played a major role in the sell-off of the healthcare cohort and more specifically biotech stocks. Drug pricing was used as a centerpiece and scapegoat for political gains. Continue reading "Biotech's Upward Trend - IBB Breaks $300"

The Presidential Nominees Are Set

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


The political lines have been drawn, it’s Clinton verses Trump. I written several pieces evaluating the massive sell-offs in the biotech sector. Utilizing the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) as a proxy, I proposed a loose correlation between opportunistic political posturing by political front-runners and the chronic price suppression of IBB. I content that political posturing played a significant role in the sell-off of the healthcare cohort and more specifically biotech stocks. Drug pricing was used as a centerpiece as the scapegoat for political gains. Throughout this political process, this rhetoric has negatively impacted the sector. IBB fell from $401 in July of 2015 to $240 in February of 2016 or alternatively a 40% hit. This sell-off coincided with political rhetoric aimed at the collective cohort of healthcare and biotech companies. I strongly felt that these events were seasonal and would eventually subside without any significant impact to the underlying stocks within IBB. I felt this political induced sell-off presented a great buying opportunity after the 40% decline. I put my money where my mouth was by purchasing two tranches of IBB at a strike price of $250 in February and June during the market-wide sell-off and the Brexit, respectively. I feel that this is great entry point for any long-term investor that desires exposure to the biotechnology sector.

Are Drug Prices Really The Culprit?

In terms of the overall cost to the healthcare system, drugs comprise less than 10% of the pie. Allergan CEO Brent Saunders stated in an interview with Jim Cramer on Mad Money (Figure 1): Continue reading "The Presidential Nominees Are Set"

IBB: Brexit Collateral Damage Provides Brief Buying Opportunity

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


As Brexit wreaked havoc on international financial markets, it presented a brief opportunity to capitalize on the collateral damage fallout within the biotechnology cohort. This event may continue to offer entry points as the reverberations are felt throughout the markets. I didn’t factor in the possibility that a major economic power within the EU would vote to relinquish its membership and move forward as an independent nation. However as Brexit became reality, I utilized this opportunity to deploy capital in the biotechnology cohort via the iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) as a long-term investor within the space. As the UK proceeded with its divorce from the EU, markets sold off in a meaningful way. Brexit introduced instability throughout the region thus negatively impacting financial markets abroad. I largely view the Brexit as an extraneous event unrelated directly to the biotechnology cohort; thus I utilized this brief opportunity to add to my position in IBB and may continue to add in periods of weakness. Continue reading "IBB: Brexit Collateral Damage Provides Brief Buying Opportunity"

The Bruised And Battered Biotech Sector - Buying Opportunity Arises

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

The culmination of extraneous events such as sustained lower oil prices, an ostensibly imminent rate hike and weakness in China have indiscriminately plummeted the biotech sector as of late. Now a second and more specific wave of sector related stories such as price gouging by Turing Pharmaceuticals and the subsequent comments by Hillary Clinton have exacerbated this sector decline. These former events are seemingly unrelated to the biotechnology sector, yet this group has been taken along for the downhill ride with the broader indices in lock-step. The latter events have been detrimental to all biotechnology stocks as this is a direct threat to pricing power and our capitalism based structure.

The unprecedented secular growth streak in biotech has been more than tested as of late with biotechnology officially in bear territory. These latest events, some unrelated and others directly related to the biotech sector, may provide a unique opportunity to add to a current position or initiate a position over time as this correction continues to unfold. Based on annual and cumulative performance throughout both bear and bull markets, The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (ticker symbol: IBB) may provide the opportunity investors have been waiting for in the face of our current market conditions. IBB is down 25% from its 52-week high, shares have plunged from $400 to $295 per share during the recent market weakness, presenting a potential buying opportunity.

Price gouging and Hilary Clinton

Recently, Turing Pharmaceuticals and its CEO Martin Shkreli garnered criticism after the company boosted the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, resulting in a greater than 5,400% increase after acquiring the drug in August. This price gouging of a decades’ old drug drew fire from the general public on social media and, in particular, the presidential candidate and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (Figure 1).

Tweet by presidential candidate and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton
Figure 1 – Tweet by presidential candidate and Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, referring to the drug price gouging

This price gouging incident has elicited widespread backlash, and in my opinion rightfully so, however this criticism has been unfairly painted across the entire sector. It’s noteworthy to point out that Democratic lawmakers have requested pricing policies and further information on pricing of drugs by Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Despite the public backlash and public statements by lawmakers, I believe this is a temporary headwind rooted in the public relations arena. Continue reading "The Bruised And Battered Biotech Sector - Buying Opportunity Arises"