Update-1 …March 18- Market jittery on potential global trade war, rising interest rate concerns and political risk. Also Sales to U.S. retailers fell 0.1% in February a 3 month slide. Biotechs are in a risk-off mode with a weak tape.

Dow down 0.47%, NASDAQ down 0.2%, IBB down 0.98%, XBI down 1.56%

Biotechs stocks were red across the screen with Alexion (ALXN) up on Phase 3 positive trial news of its C5 complement inhibitor, one of the few large cap winners. Tesaro (TSRO) bounced off a recent bottom up 2.7% to $64.38. Blueprint Medicines (BPMC), focused in cancer drugs utilizing selective kinase inhibitors, was up 3.28% to $102.95 an all time high, on Phase 1 data from the AACR.

Gene editing stocks got whacked again showing reduced speculative enthusiasm and competitive crosscurrents: bluebird bio (BLUE) down 2.52%, CRSP down 9.58%, Editas Medicine (EDIT) down 5.233%, Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) down 8.89%, Sangamo Therapeutics  (SGMO) down 5.27%. We will look for trades in this volatile group of gene therapy stocks after the dust settles.


Biotechs Stalled at Resistance Given No Help From NASDAQ

Mixed Day in Biotech Favoring Large Caps

Political Drama Intervenes Again

The XBI traded down 1% to $95.94 at its key resistance level while the NASDAQ was down about the same and the QQQ down slightly more 1.36% to $171.71 near it’s all time high of $175.21. A rally at the first hour gave way to weakness perhaps related to the Tillerson exit, now replaced by CIA spy Chief Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist . With uncertainty from potential China tariff actions and more political drama, investors turned risk averse. We will need more economic data from retail sales and crude inventory  to offer clues on the future of the economy.

Bellwether mid-cap stocks were mixed with Tesoro (TSRO) taking a big hit down 4.6% near its recent 52 week low; despite an Evercore upgrade in February the Class Action suits may be taking its toll. Alnylam (ALNY) a leader in RNAi therapeutics was strong until late in the day near its 52 week high, but stayed green up 1.49% to $144.16. Two Large Cap stocks in the Rayno Biopharma Portfolio saw green Abbvie (ABBV) up 1.45% to $119.75 and  Biogen (BIIB) up 3.34%  to $283.24. The Abbvie (ABBV) pipeline was supported by Phase 3 data on Elagolix for uterine fibroids that met its endpoints. Regeneron (REGN) continued weak down 1.97% after announcing positive data Monday and price cuts for its new drug Praluent showed reduced risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. Regeneron and Sanofi plan to cut the Cholesterol drug price in exchange for wider coverage from PBMs and insurance companies.

In a related article published in the WSJ, a WH panel calls for measures to lower cancer drug prices which can cost more than $100k/yr. The Report says cancer drugs aren’t delivering enough to justify costs.The panelists also stressed that the drug business should become more transparent to consumers so they can evaluate the products that they buy.

Gene editing stocks cooled down a bit: BLUE EDIT CRSP NTLA SGMO ZIOP with BLUE taking a 4.16% hit.

Celgene (CELG) is holding the $91 level near it low.

The Cowen & Company Annual Healthcare Conference is this week so we will be looking for news on selected stocks.

Technology and financial stocks were weak but healthcare (XLV) was flattish. DoubleLine’s Gundlach says should yield on the 10 Year note rise above 3%  risk assets such as equities and high yield bonds would be hurt.

Disclosure: long ABBV, BMY, CELG, FBIOX, GILD, SGEN

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