Stocks Down for Sixth Straight Session:  Biotechs still up Over 10% YTD

As we wind down from ASCO news with few catalysts ahead, investors and traders will regroup and rebalance their portfolios. The NASDAQ index is down 21 pts off 0.77%  and component biotech stocks in the NASDAQ-100 are caught in the buyer’s strike .

The QQQ is off 0.5% (up 1.76% YTD)with large cap biotechs in the ETF faring better: Illumina (ILMN) up 1.4%, Alexion (ALXN)  up 1.21%, Gilead (GILD) up 0.58%,Celegene (CELG) up 0.34%, and Amgen (AMGN ) up 0.29%.Vertex(VRTX) was off 1.85% probably because of VRUS-see below.

Our model portfolio is down 0.28% today with several winners in the large cap biotechs and diagnostic/tools sector. Mid-cap biotechs were off 0.5% with some lingering ASCO related winners: Ariad (ARIA) and Targacept (TRGT). ETF’s were mixed with IBB and XBI flat and FBT off 1%.

The healthcare and energy sectors were among the better performers so large cap drugs and biotech are defensive and a place to hide from the correction.

The hot stock of the day is Pharmasset, Inc. (VRUS $120.67) up 11.4% on an update of its HCV drug, a nucleoside/tide analog, ELECTRON clinical trial. Revenues for the Company are minimal and the Balance Sheet has $208M in cash. The stock is up 177% YTD and has a market cap of $4.4B. CitiCorp upgraded the stock on June 3 raising the target from $70 to $200! The stock is held by many institutions especially Fidelity and T.Rowe Price totaling 20% of outstanding shares.

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