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iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) Had Strong Start to April

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Where does IBB stand?

The Markets closed down on April 4, 2016, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.3%. However, biotechnology stocks were on an upward trend, taking back some ground for the losses they’ve incurred this year. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) rose 0.9% and lowered its year-to-date return to -20%. IBB closed at $270.65 and was trading above its 20-day moving average price of $257.90.

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The above table shows the price movements and returns of IBB, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), and a few IBB holdings. Of the 190 stocks that IBB has in its portfolio, 145 rose and 45 fell to reflect a positive note across IBB. IBB also witnessed high trading volumes with ~3.7 million shares being traded for the day.

Top performers

Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX) was the top performer among IBB holdings, rising 10.6% on April 4. The other top performers include Synergy Pharmaceuticals (SGYP) and Sage Therapeutics (SAGE) with returns of 7.4% and 7.7%, respectively. CLDX stock rose on high trading volumes of ~5.4 million shares traded compared to the three-month average trading volume of 4.1 million shares per day.

CLDX stock closed at $4.37 and was trading above its 20-day moving average. Its 52-week high was $30.28, and its 52-week low was $2.96. The stock has been on a downward trend since Rintega, an immunotherapy that targets certain brain tumors, failed its clinical trial. Year-to-date returns of Celldex Therapeutics stood at -72.1%. The stock has a book value of $2.94 per share, and with its current price, the stock is trading at a PBV (price-to-book value) of ~1.5x. Celldex Therapeutics’ net loss has widened in 2015 from $118.1 million in 2014 to $127.2 million. Celldex has a weight of 0.1% in IBB.

In the next part of this series, let’s look at Alexion Pharmaceuticals and the new data from its Phase 2 trial of Strensiq.

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