This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Sector Watch: Those Darn Biotechs Still Making Headlines

Biotechnology stocks are one of the most volatile areas on Wall Street. So far this 2001, the American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index has hit a high of 665.3 and a low of 480, a 185 point swing. Pop some Dramamine, because the biotechs aren't settling down any time soon.

The Amex biotech index continued to slide today, falling 2.9%, as many of the bigger names in the index topped the list of Nasdaq's top losers.

Recent news from the biotechs has been disquieting. Yesterday, Seattle Genetics, a biotech drug firm backed by Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates, lowered the price range on its initial public offering for the second time.

It illustrates the popularity of the biotechs that Seattle plans to go ahead with the offering despite the current tough market environment. Then again, it could be a sign that the market is crowded with biotech and that the sector's popularity could be waning.

And two days ago, COR Therapeutics (CORR - Get Report) lowered its first-quarter guidance, citing slow sales.

The Not-So Magnificent Seven
Company Price at 2 p.m. ET Point Change % Change
Affymetrix (AFFX) 51.44

Biogen (BGEN) 65.75

Millenium Pharmaceutical (MNLM) 31.44

Myriad Genetics (MYGN) 47.56

Protein Design Labs (PDLI) 50

Sepracor (SEPR) 42**

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) 42.13


** -- Sepracor also hit a 52-week low of $41.

Elsewhere in the "we make medicine to make you feel better" department, drugmakers were taking a hit today. The American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index was lately down 2.9% as the index dropped heavily for the second straight day.

Two days ago, President Bush vowed to push his Medicare reform package through Congress -- a move that could impact drug companies, since the measure will include coverage for prescription medications. Currently, Medicare offers no prescription drug benefits. At the same time, news broke that Pfizer (PFE - Get Report) Chairman William Steere filed to sell $8.1 million in company stock, just a few months after he sold more than $6 million.

Skittish investors have left the safety of drugmakers in droves since then.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
NASDAQ 4,635.24 -48.1670 -1.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs