Big Biotech emerges as a shelter in economic storm

Veteran investors have long taken different views of biotechnology, sometimes in the course of a single day. And share prices regularly go on a roller coaster ride driven by hope and fear. During one particularly dour period at the beginning of this decade, biotech stocks lost their allure--along with 50 percent of their collective value. But analysts tell The Wall Street Journal that there are distinct signs that all that may be changing. While just about every category of stocks has been hammered in recent months, biotech has edged up. Investors have been betting that the biotech business model, which relies on breakthrough technologies and long-term contracts, could well weather the economic storm in the U.S. And Big Biotech companies with their big pipelines have been doing the best. Genentech shares are up 16 percent for the year to date.

"Everyone looked at big pharma as both defensive and growth plays," says Ned Davis analyst John LaForge. "That's what they consider big biotech now."

- read the story in the Wall Street Journal

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