Biotech Stocks Partying Like It's 1999

With one month of trading remaining in 2013, the biotech sector is on pace for historic gains.

By historic, I mean biotech and drug stocks haven't delivered returns this robust -- on an absolute and relative basis -- since 1999.

Here's where we stand today:

IBB Chart
IBB data by YCharts

The 63% absolute return and the 37% return relative to the S&P 500 through the first 11 months of 2013 represents the best year for the biotech sector since 1999, when the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index more than doubled.

Remember all that selling of biotech stocks in October? It was the weakest month for the sector in 2013, but buying returned in November (more like the last two weeks of November, to be precise.) 

IBB Chart
IBB data by YCharts

Here's where the IBB stands relative to the S&P 500 for the fourth quarter. The performance gap is almost closed.

IBB Chart
IBB data by YCharts

Lastly (in case you were wondering) the best-performing stocks in November:

Ariad Pharmaceuticals  (ARIA) (120%), IntelliPharmaCeutics  (IPCI) (118%), Oxygen Biotherapeutics  (OXBT) (106%), Cadence Pharma  (CADX) (83%) and Galena Biopharma  (GALE) (80%), according to CapitalIQ.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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