Biotech ETFs Prescribe Investing Momentum

Biotechnology exchange traded funds are extending what is an impressive 2017 resurgence after the group faltered last year. iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQGM:IBB), the largest biotechnology exchange traded fund by assets, rose more than 2% last week, bringing its year-to-date gain to almost 22%.

Biotech ETFs soared even after it became apparent Senate Republicans’ efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are stalling. Healthcare stocks are also showing attractive valuations relative to other defensive sectors, which are richly valued.

Biotechnology historically trades at multiples that are elevated relative to broader benchmarks, but after last year’s of struggles for biotechnology names, some analysts see value with some big-name biotech stocks.

IBB, which holds nearly 190 stocks and is a cap-weighted ETF, has a price-to-earnings ratio of just over 21 and a price-to-book ratio of 4.92. The ETF’s three-year standard deviation is just over 25 percent.

Regarding IBB, “eight members of the ETF have double digit gains this week, including Vertex, up nearly 32 percent in its highest performing week since June 2014, when the biopharma company gained 44.35 percent in a week,” reports CNBC.