Market report: Biotechs up for sixth week in a row

By David Binning
Friday, 17 December, 2010

S&P/ASX 200 Heathcare Index closed just 22 points shy of 9000 today after notching up its sixth consecutive week in the black.

Meanwhile the S&P/ASX 200 ended a six day winning streak but still managed a 0.04 percent gain for the week – it’s third in a row – to close at 4763.1 points.

Today’s drop followed a sell-off of key resources stocks as metals prices fell overnight. But general market sentiment is upbeat following more positive economic data out of the U.S, while local investors also bought into banks after the government’s much touted banking reforms appeared softer than expected.

As to why biotech stocks have enjoyed such a strong run these past six weeks it’s anyone’s guess, although a number of encouraging announcements by respected firms would seem to have woken investors up to some of the more glaringly undervalued stocks and the potential of the sector overall.

The majors were all up this week.

ResMed led the way adding $1.42 to close on $34.78, followed by Cochlear, up almost $1.70 for the week to $80.03. CSL’s gains were more modest, its shares up just 12 cents to $36.82 while the fourth biggest stock on the index, Ramsay Health Ramsay rose 1.84 percent to close the week on $16.64.

Looking at today’s winners and losers,pPain and nervous system specialists QRxPharma managed a gain of 6.23 percent gain to close at $1.37. The company is about to commence clinical trials of its promising pain treatment MoxDuo IR. Several other companies managed modest gains today.

Heading the other way, HIV drug developer Biotron shed 18.52 percent to close on $0.11. HealthLinx fell 7.95 percent to $0.81 as investors went in for a bit of profit taking after Wednesday’s announcement of s study showing the efficacy of the company’s OvPLex diagnostic for ovarian cancer.

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