BIOTECHS GET SMOKED: Here's what you need to know

Stocks rebounded after last Friday’s sell off and earned a positive close to start this week. During the session, the Nasdaq was dragged lower by biotech stocks, and it was on its own in the red among the three major indexes.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 16,523.48, +138.90, (0.85%)
  • S&P 500: 1,970.04, +12.01, (0.61%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,838.81, +11.58, (0.24%)

And now, the top stories on Monday:

  1. Biotechs got slammed. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index ETF fell more than 4%. Some of the uglier individual names included Exact Sciences (-7%), Juno Therapeutics (-9%), and Biogen (-6%). The moves lower happened after democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton tweeted that she would announce Tuesday plans to take on “price gouging” in the industry. This was in response to a New York Times story on Daraprim, an infectious disease drug which was hiked 5000% to $US750 from $US13.50 overnight.
  2. In economic data, existing home sales unexpectedly fell 4.8% to an annual rate of 5.31 million in August, the National Association of Realtors said. Chief economist Lawrence Yun said tight inventory levels discouraged some buyers. Single-family home sales fell 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.69 million, while condo and co-op sales fell 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 620,000 units. At $US228,700, the median home price rose year-on-year for a 42nd straight month.
  3. GoPro shares declined by more than 6%. In a weekend article, Barron’s said the company’s shares could fall 29%. The magazine likened GoPro’s point-of-view cameras to BlackBerry smartphones and said they were a “one-product wonder”. The article also cited concerns about mounting competition from companies like Apple.
  4. Medallion Financial shares surged by as much as 18%, also following a Barron’s article. The magazine said the stock was a “buy”. The company finances taxi medallions in New York and other big cities. Its stock had fallen about 60% from the all-time high, and according to Barron’s, the selloff was overdone. According to the article, it’s an exaggeration that Uber will run the taxi business aground.
  5. Pandora spiked 10%. The company received a preliminary ruling on its ongoing hearing with the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which sets rates that performers earn when services like Pandora play their music. In short, the Copyright Office decided that the CRB should benchmark its decision on favourable rates Pandora already has in agreements with the music-rights agency Merlin and the record label Naxos.

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