Biotechnology, while hurting along with the rest of the market, is one of the few that can boast market outperformance during these tough market times, evidenced in the performance of the related exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Billy Fisher for TheStreet points out that while the S&P 500 has lost 35% year-to-date, biotech funds have had stand-out performances even though resistance has been a factor.

Biotech HOLDRs (BBH) has done especially well, as it is the only biotech ETF in positive territory year-to-date, up 5.1%.

Biotechnology ETFs

The performance is on the radar of money managers and investors alike, but take note that biotech is not completely in the clear yet. Venture capital will become more discerning and wherever it invests this money, larger ownership interests are going to be desirable.

Beware, though: BBH is a concentrated fund, with only 12 holdings. The top three holdings are making up about 80% of the ETF, so the approach is focused, and it is not the most cost-efficient fund around. The top holdings are Genetech (DNA), Affymetrix (AFFX), and Gilead Sciences (GILD).

A more diversified biotech ETF is the SPDR S&P Biotech (XBI), which is down 9.7% year-to-date. There are 22 holdings, with most weighted between 4%-5% of the fund.

Biotechnology ETFs

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.