The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI), which tracks an equal-weight index of biotechnology companies and focuses on smaller biotech names, has been among the more beaten up biotech exchange traded funds, but some technicians believe the charts on XBI indicate upside for the ETF could be ahead.
Recently, biotechnology stocks and related exchange traded funds gave back all of their gains this year and then some as political posturing, among other factors, punished the once hot sector.
Bespoke Investment Group pointed out that the recent biotech pullback was not the first time the sector faced a bear market, Bloomberg reports. Looking back at data from 1992 until now, Bespoke found that bearish price pressure lingered, with an average decline greater than 20%, which suggests that the sector may fall even lower.
According to Jeffrey Loo, S&P Capital IQ’s head of health care equity research, there are a number of catalysts. He highlighted that in 2014 several high profile blockbuster drugs were approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and sales for the seven biotech companies in the S&P 500 index rose 41.5% in 2014, while net income rose 85%. Looking forward, these companies have robust pipelines, with expectations that 10-12 compounds could be approved by the FDA in 2015 and are capable of achieving blockbuster sales in five years,” according to a research note from S&P Capital IQ.
Although XBI is an equal-weight ETF where none of its 98 holdings currently account for more than 2% of the fund’s weight, there have been occasions when FDA and mergers and acquisitions news from just one of the ETF’s holdings has led to significant intraday pops for XBI. [Intercept Lifts ETF]