Prior to his inauguration, president-elect Trump held a press conference and chimed in on his stance with regard to the pharmaceutical industry and more specifically drug pricing. Trump stated that drug companies are "getting away with murder" when speaking to the drug pricing issue that has taken center stage throughput the presidential campaign. These remarks immediately resulted in a broad sell-off across the entire biotech cohort. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) shed more than 2.5% or $7 per share as these comments were heard during the live broadcast. Although the political uncertainty has abated, Donald Trump has been able to single handily influence the movement of specific stocks (i.e. Lockheed Martin, Ford, Boeing, etc.) and sectors (i.e. automotive, biotechnology and healthcare). The overall healthcare umbrella has become volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump and thus one can expect continued volatility until the crosshairs are directed elsewhere.
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"→
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 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.
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"→
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