Biotech ETFs May Be Poised For A Great Year Ahead

biotechWorld stock indexes have struggled to continue the rally that began in 2009. Investors have begun to question the validity of the rally. However, there are small pockets of strength through the first two months of 2010, and the one sector that may be poised for a big year is the biotech stocks. Through February 19th, the Dow Jones US Biotech Index is up 6.1% versus a loss of 0.5% for the S&P 500. Granted this is a short timeframe to base any type of long-term investment decision on, but the last few years also indicate the biotech sector is setting up to beat the benchmarks in 2010. As the S&P 500 gained over 23% in 2009, the Biotech Index was only able to manage a gain of 5%, making it one of the worst performing sectors in the US market. The yearly rotation of money can be traced back another year as the Biotech Index gained 3% in 2008 as the S&P 500 lost 38.5%. If the pattern continues, the biotech stocks should continue the early outperformance throughout the entire year,”  Matthew McCall Reports From Investopedia.

McCall continues to say, “With approximately 160 biotech stocks trading on the major US exchanges it comes down to the stock picking abilities of investors and advisors. I have been picking stocks for years and the most difficult sector to attempt to pick a stock that will beat the market without taking on unnecessary risk is the biotech sector. This is why investors should consider investing in a biotech ETF, which is a basket of biotech stocks. The instant diversification lowers the risk dramatically as the potential reward does not fall as much. In the end, the reward-to-risk ratio becomes more attractive for the average investor either does not have the research capabilities to pick an individual biotech stock or prefers less risk.”

“There are currently five biotech ETFs that trade in the US with the two most heavily traded being the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSE:XBI) and the iShares NASDAQ Biotech ETF (NASDAQ:IBB). Even though the two ETFs track biotech indexes, they have a very different mixture of stocks that make up the portfolio and the return reflects that difference. Since the beginning of 2007, XBI has gained 24% as IBB has only added 10% for its investors. The varying returns have to do with IBB’s heavy concentration of assets in their top five holdings; making up 35% of the ETF. XBI for example has less than 20% of their assets in the top five holdings. When it comes down to investing in the biotech sector, the route of a biotech ETF is the best route for the majority of investors. If you do decide to pick an individual biotech stock you must be aware of the potential risk and be willing to take a big loss if the investment does not work out. The key is recognizing and managing the risk of your portfolio,” McCall Reports.

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Here is a closer look at the two biotech ETFs:

The investment (XBI) seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before expenses, the performance of an index derived from the biotechnology segment of a U.S. total market composite index. The fund uses a passive management strategy designed to track the total return performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry index. The Biotech index represents the biotechnology sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Market index. It is nondiversified.

TOP 10 HOLDINGS ( 41.09% OF TOTAL ASSETS)  
 
Company Symbol % Assets
Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB) 4.01
BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) 4
Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGSI) 3.97
Incyte Corporation (INCY) 4.14
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS) 4.06
Medivation, Inc. (MDVN) 3.99
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN) 4.65
Seattle Genetics, Inc. (SGEN) 4.24
United Therapeutics Corporation (UTHR) 4.11
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorpor (VRTX) 3.92

Chart for SPDR S&P Biotech (XBI)

The investment (IBB) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Nasdaq Biotechnology index. The fund uses the process of representative sampling, holding securities that have a similar investment profile to its index. The fund normally invests at least 90% of assets in the securities of the index or in American Depository Receipts. The fund may hold up to 10% of assets in securities that are not included in the index. It is nondiversified.

Holdings Detail as of 2/23/2010 (Holdings subject to change)

Symbol Name % Net
Assets
Market
Value ($)
Identifier* Market Sector Exchange
Rate
(AMGN) AMGEN INC 9.72 $143,917,392 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(GILD) GILEAD SCIENCES INC 8.07 $119,436,634 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(TEVA) TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL-SP ADR 8.06 $119,284,582 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CELG) CELGENE CORP 6.47 $95,855,236 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(VRTX) VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC 3.99 $59,032,711 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(BIIB) BIOGEN IDEC INC 3.16 $46,740,013 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(GENZ) GENZYME CORP 2.72 $40,200,210 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(ALXN) ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS INC 2.48 $36,681,726 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(PRGO) PERRIGO CO 2.44 $36,054,897 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MYL) MYLAN INC 2.27 $33,673,068 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ILMN) ILLUMINA INC 2.26 $33,493,081 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(WCRX) WARNER CHILCOTT PLC-CLASS A 2.23 $32,991,177 XNGS   1.00
(DNDN) DENDREON CORP 2.22 $32,892,896 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(LIFE) Life Technologies Corp 2.10 $31,073,724 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(UTHR) UNITED THERAPEUTICS CORP 1.87 $27,752,559 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(SHPGY) SHIRE PLC-ADR 1.75 $25,908,603 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(QGEN) QIAGEN N.V. 1.63 $24,093,450 XNGS   1.00
(REGN) REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS 1.58 $23,402,960 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(HGSI) HUMAN GENOME SCIENCES INC 1.54 $22,763,127 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(ONXX) ONYX PHARMACEUTICALS INC 1.39 $20,545,374 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(BMRN) BIOMARIN PHARMACEUTICAL INC 1.38 $20,369,588 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(CEPH) CEPHALON INC 1.22 $18,040,897 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MYGN) MYRIAD GENETICS INC 1.11 $16,418,028 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(OSIP) OSI PHARMACEUTICALS INC 1.02 $15,051,539 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(VRUS) PHARMASSET INC 0.87 $12,827,534 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(TECH) TECHNE CORP 0.82 $12,144,225 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(NKTR) NEKTAR THERAPEUTICS 0.81 $12,007,694 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(INCY) INCYTE CORP 0.81 $12,002,309 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(GPRO) GEN-PROBE INC 0.79 $11,719,443 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(CBST) CUBIST PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.77 $11,381,704 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(AUXL) AUXILIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.76 $11,238,780 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(SLXP) SALIX PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.76 $11,206,653 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MNKD) MANNKIND CORP 0.71 $10,558,822 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(MDVN) MEDIVATION INC 0.68 $10,135,829 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ENDP) ENDO PHARMACEUT HLDGS INC 0.67 $9,921,757 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ACOR) ACORDA THERAPEUTICS INC 0.65 $9,571,901 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(AMLN) AMYLIN PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.65 $9,559,393 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(ITMN) INTERMUNE INC 0.60 $8,829,247 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(IPXL) IMPAX LABORATORIES INC 0.56 $8,249,792 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(SGEN) SEATTLE GENETICS INC /WA 0.54 $7,969,545 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(EXEL) EXELIXIS INC 0.52 $7,724,768 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(ALKS) ALKERMES INC 0.52 $7,655,346 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ISIS) ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.48 $7,053,428 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(SVNT) SAVIENT PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.46 $6,867,420 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(VPHM) VIROPHARMA INC 0.44 $6,533,879 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ALNY) ALNYLAM PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.43 $6,312,728 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(ALTH) ALLOS THERAPEUTICS INC 0.40 $5,871,211 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(MNTA) MOMENTA PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.40 $5,856,006 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(ISPH) INSPIRE PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.39 $5,847,920 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(AMAG) AMAG PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.37 $5,518,131 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(GERN) GERON CORP 0.37 $5,470,253 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(PDLI) PDL BIOPHARMA INC 0.35 $5,180,919 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(LMNX) LUMINEX CORP 0.35 $5,152,192 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(THRX) THERAVANCE INC 0.33 $4,874,746 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(VVUS) VIVUS INC 0.32 $4,694,216 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ENZN) ENZON PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.31 $4,643,551 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(HALO) HALOZYME THERAPEUTICS INC 0.29 $4,321,807 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(GHDX) GENOMIC HEALTH INC 0.29 $4,306,965 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(TRGT) TARGACEPT INC 0.29 $4,289,796 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MITI) MICROMET INC 0.29 $4,245,100 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CRA) CELERA CORP 0.27 $4,063,908 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(AFFX) AFFYMETRIX INC 0.27 $3,942,706 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(ZGEN) ZYMOGENETICS INC 0.26 $3,846,485 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(FACT) FACET BIOTECH CORP 0.24 $3,492,911 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(CADX) CADENCE PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.23 $3,362,591 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(RIGL) RIGEL PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.22 $3,318,324 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(OPTR) OPTIMER PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.22 $3,266,826 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(NABI) NABI BIOPHARMACEUTICALS 0.22 $3,246,280 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(SQNM) SEQUENOM INC 0.21 $3,057,408 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(CRME) CARDIOME PHARMA CORPORATION 0.20 $2,947,086 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(AMRI) ALBANY MOLECULAR RESEARCH 0.19 $2,851,200 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(QCOR) QUESTCOR PHARMACEUTICALS 0.18 $2,622,968 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CRXL) CRUCELL-ADR 0.17 $2,564,696 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(IMGN) IMMUNOGEN INC 0.17 $2,489,472 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(OREX) OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS INC 0.17 $2,463,390 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(MDCO) MEDICINES COMPANY 0.17 $2,447,920 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(OSIR) OSIRIS THERAPEUTICS INC 0.16 $2,376,298 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(IMMU) IMMUNOMEDICS INC 0.16 $2,368,146 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(QLTI) QLT INC 0.16 $2,335,128 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(DYAX) DYAX CORP 0.15 $2,290,271 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(BCRX) BIOCRYST PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.15 $2,272,745 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(OMPI) OBAGI MEDICAL PRODUCTS INC 0.15 $2,260,148 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ARIA) ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.15 $2,255,555 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(BMTI) BIOMIMETIC THERAPEUTICS INC 0.15 $2,147,103 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(LXRX) LEXICON PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.14 $2,119,211 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(XNPT) XENOPORT INC 0.14 $2,112,143 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(SNTS) SANTARUS INC 0.14 $2,042,308 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ARNA) ARENA PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.14 $2,007,325 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(LGND) LIGAND PHARMACEUTICALS-CL B 0.13 $1,879,090 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(SGMO) SANGAMO BIOSCIENCES INC 0.13 $1,851,528 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(NVAX) NOVAVAX INC 0.12 $1,826,264 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(PTIE) PAIN THERAPEUTICS INC 0.12 $1,818,444 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(BJGP) BMP SUNSTONE CORP 0.12 $1,760,633 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CYPB) CYPRESS BIOSCIENCE INC 0.12 $1,759,411 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(POZN) POZEN INC 0.11 $1,697,642 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(DRRX) DURECT CORPORATION 0.11 $1,642,733 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MAXY) MAXYGEN INC 0.11 $1,611,328 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(FLML) FLAMEL TECHNOLOGIES-SP ADR 0.11 $1,605,100 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(VNDA) VANDA PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.11 $1,603,916 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(SIGA) SIGA TECHNOLOGIES INC 0.11 $1,600,469 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(CSKI) CHINA SKY ONE MEDICAL INC 0.11 $1,557,747 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CYTK) CYTOKINETICS INC 0.10 $1,520,609 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(SPPI) SPECTRUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.10 $1,480,651 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(HITK) HI-TECH PHARMACAL CO INC 0.10 $1,462,468 XNGS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(IDIX) IDENIX PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.09 $1,403,637 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(SUPG) SUPERGEN INC 0.09 $1,390,714 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(PGNX) PROGENICS PHARMACEUTICALS 0.09 $1,338,443 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(GTXI) GTX INC 0.09 $1,328,900 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(NPSP) NPS PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.09 $1,301,748 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(AKRX) AKORN INC 0.08 $1,165,587 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(DEPO) DEPOMED INC 0.08 $1,130,468 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(STEM) STEMCELLS INC 0.08 $1,121,001 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(ARQL) ARQULE INC 0.07 $1,049,693 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(ADLR) ADOLOR CORPORATION 0.06 $957,251 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(BIOD) BIODEL INC 0.06 $853,403 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
BLACKROCK FDS III 0.05 $796,699 S-T Securities 1.00
(XOMA) XOMA LTD 0.05 $776,901 XNMS   1.00
(VICL) VICAL INC 0.05 $776,609 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(ALXA) ALEXZA PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.05 $764,559 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(ARRY) ARRAY BIOPHARMA INC 0.05 $740,669 XNMS Biotechnology 1.00
(SNTA) SYNTA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP 0.04 $630,666 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(DSCO) DISCOVERY LABORATORIES INC 0.04 $598,452 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(NBIX) NEUROCRINE BIOSCIENCES INC 0.04 $582,806 XNGS Biotechnology 1.00
(PARD) PONIARD PHARMACEUTICALS INC 0.04 $582,596 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(CBRX) COLUMBIA LABORATORIES INC 0.03 $491,356 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
(MBRK) MIDDLEBROOK PHARMACEUTICALS 0.01 $104,281 XNMS Pharmaceuticals 1.00
Chart for iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB)
 
 

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