Biotech Trading 2014 Starts Hot, But Surprise, Last Year Was Even Better

The biotech sector has jumped off to a strong start to 2014, with today's blockbuster move in Intercept Pharma  ( ICPT) offering a big assist. I know it's ridiculously early to make any sort of definitive judgment, but I wondered how the first days of biotech trading 2014 compared to 2013. 

Here are the charts:

^NBI Chart
^NBI data by YCharts

And here's what the NBI looked like for the first 9 days of 2013:

^NBI Chart
^NBI data by YCharts

One big difference between 2013 and 2014 to note: The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference ran early last year -- Jan. 7-10, 2013, so investors were already reacting to what was an incredibly upbeat outlook offered by biotech companies. 

This year's J.P. Morgan confab starts on Monday and runs through Thursday, so we'll check back on these charts late next week to see if 2014 catches up to 2013's performance. 

Intercept is obviously the best-performing drug stock in this very young 2014, but other stocks strong out of the gate include Neurocrine Bioscience ( NBIX), Epizyme ( EPZM), Zalicus ZLCS, Oramed Pharma ( ORMP) and Atherthys ( ATHX). In other words, the speculative fervor we saw last year has not abated. 

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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