Biotechnology stocks and ETFs are slumping in the fourth quarter. For example, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQGM: IBB), the largest biotech ETF by assets, and its equal-weight rival, the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) are saddled with fourth-quarter losses of 5.8% and 1.6%, respectively.
However, the slump in once hot biotechnology ETFs could present investors with a buying opportunity. 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.
The Trump Administration’s tax reform effort is seen as a catalyst for the healthcare sector, including some big-name biotechnology companies.
“As Republicans move closer to passing the Senate’s tax bill, investors in biotech will remain focused on the possibility of a lower tax rate for repatriation of funds,” reports Bloomberg. “The prospect of large companies, including Amgen Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc., bringing cash back to the U.S. may spur some highly anticipated deals in a space that has been tracking this year to the lowest volume of transactions since 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”