Market Overview

Biotech And Natural Gas ETFs On A Roll

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Shares of the following exchange traded funds are trading more than 20 percent higher than 90 days ago, and they are within 10 percent of their 52-week highs.

This set of ETFs provides a peek at areas of investor interest during and after the holiday shopping season, as uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing faded, during the six percent market correction and one of the most brutal winters in years.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotech Index (NYSE: FBT) is up more than 12 percent year to date and hit a new multiyear high on Friday. A recent pullback in the biotechnology sector has been quite shallow and signs suggest that the correction may already be over.

The investment tracks the price and yield the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index, an equal-dollar weighted index designed to measure the performance of a cross-section of biotech companies that are primarily involved in the use of biological processes to develop products or provide services. Top holdings include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Ilumina and Myriad Genetics.

iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (NASDAQ: IBB) has risen more than 21 percent in the past 90 days to reach a new 52-week high on Friday. The speculative fervor that investors have for the biotech sector continues to be very strong.

This non-diversified fund seeks to track the investment results of an index of equities listed on the Nasdaq that are classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark as either biotechnology or pharmaceuticals and that also meet other eligibility criteria. Top holdings include Celgene, Gilead Sciences and Amgen.

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Market Vectors Biotech ETF (NYSE: BBH) is about 14 percent higher than at the beginning of the year and reached a multiyear high on Friday. Among the drivers of the growth in biotech are an increase in mergers and acquisitions, as well as a boom in health care in emerging markets.

The investment seeks to replicate the price and yield performance of the Market Vectors U.S. Listed Biotech 25 Index, which is comprised of common stocks and depositary receipts of U.S. exchange-listed companies in the biotechnology sector. Top holdings in this ETF include Gilead Sciences, Amgen and Biogen Idec.

PowerShares Dynamic Biotech & Genome (NYSE: PBE) is trading more than 22 percent higher than three months ago and almost 76 percent higher than a year ago. It also hit a 52-week high on Friday. The growing population of the insured due to the Affordable Care Act has been a positive for the health care sector.

The investment seeks results that generally correspond to the price and yield of the Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Intellidex Index, which is composed of common stocks of 30 U.S. biotechnology and genome companies. The fund's top holdings include Illumina and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

SPDR S&P Biotech (NYSE: XBI) is almost 19 percent higher since the beginning of the year, but now down less than three percent from the 52-week high reached in January. The momentum in biotechnology stocks recently is due in part to the interest of institutional investors.

The investment seeks investment results that correspond generally to the total return performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index, which represents the biotechnology industry group of the S&P Total Market Index. Top holdings include Intercept Pharmaceuticals and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals.

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United States Natural Gas (NYSE: UNG) is trading more than 38 percent higher than three months ago, including a six percent pop in the past week as shares recover from a more than 10 percent pullback from a 52-week high earlier in the month. Cold weather has led to dwindling natural gas inventories.

The investment seeks to replicate the performance, net of expenses, of natural gas. The trust invests in futures contracts on natural gas traded on the NYMEX that are the near month contract to expire. The fund was established in April of 2007.

United States 12 Month Natural Gas (NYSE: UNL) is almost 22 percent higher over the past three months and less than a buck a share from reclaiming the 52-week high set last May. Investors can take a smaller position through natural gas ETFs than through directly trading in natural gas futures.

The investment seeks to reflect the changes of the spot price of natural gas delivered at the Henry Hub, Louisiana, as measured by the changes in the average of the prices of 12 futures contracts on natural gas traded on the NYMEX. The fund generally consists of the near month contract to expire and the contracts for the following eleven months.

At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.

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Posted-In: Alexion Pharmaceuticals amgen ARIAD Pharmaceuticals biogen idec Celgene Gilead Sciences Ilumina Intercept Pharmaceuticals Myriad GeneticsTrading Ideas ETFs Best of Benzinga

 

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