(Updated from 2:23 p.m. ET)
Hope, if not results, may be sending the biotech sector higher today.
The recent clinical drug results at the annual meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology
may have led some investors to jump into biotech stocks hoping to get in on the ground floor. "It seems to me that the public thinks again that we may be close to having something," said Sam Ginzburg, the senior managing director of equity trading at
, referring to the drug trial results coming out of the ASCO conference. "There hasn't been a vaccine since polio."
Ginzburg said that his trading firm had received a lot of calls for trades on biotech stocks today, and that "a lot of bigger institutions were getting positions" in the biotechs. The
Dow Jones U.S. Biotech Index
gained 6.3% today, while the
Nasdaq Biotech Index
added 5.3%. The
American Stock Exchange Biotech Index
surged 6.9%, and the
gained 6.6%. Many of the biotechs dropped on both Monday and Tuesday following the results out of the ASCO conference.
Still, Ginzburg warned that some of today's upward movement may be due to short-covering, or the buying of stocks after having bet that their share price would fall, which could, in turn, cause the price to increase. The biotech sector has been on a steady rise since the start of April, along with the rest of the tech industry, having fallen significantly along with the
Nasdaq in the preceding months.
gained 4.6% to $34.39 today, while
picked up 4.5% to $52.06.
rose 8.8% to $35.16, while biotech big-timer
climbed 4.7% to $63.46.
hit $49.96, a 7.4% gain.
Emily Hall, a biotech analyst with
, noted that "the sector tends to trade as a group," and that when one company may have good news, the entire group of stocks can benefit. She added that "the sector tends to move dramatically sometimes, especially because some of these issues are thinly traded. When they go up, they go up pretty big."
"The general public is listening more and more to the possibility of something getting past" clinical trials and into the marketplace, said Ginzburg. "God forbid something does happen, there won't be enough stock to go around."
Hall, however, cautioned that investors have to "cut through the hype and think of these companies as businesses." Hype or otherwise, the buying mood spread throughout the sector.
Human Genome Sciences
rose 5.9% to $60.38.
gained $1.94, or 5.6%, to $36.60 today, while
picked up 2.4% to $41.51.
But regardless of how the sector is doing today, "we're through 11,000
Dow Jones Industrial Average," Ginzburg said, "That's the story of the day."