Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, put the spotlight on Mylan (MYL) EpiPen prices, triggering a selloff in biotech exchange traded funds and reminding investors of political risks in an election season.
Biotech stocks were still reeling from Clinton’s Wednesday remarks, with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) down 3.6% and SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) 3.5% lower on Thursday. As of the close Wednesday, IBB declined 3.4% and XBI decreased 4.3% after trading in positive territory earlier in the day on speculation of increased merger and acquisition activity in the space.
Meanwhile, inverse or bearish biotech ETF surged. For example, the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear Shares (LABD) takes the -3x or -300% daily performance of the biotech sector, ProShares UltraPro Short NASDAQ Biotechnology (ZBIO) tracks the -3x or -300% daily performance of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and ProShares Ultrashort Nasdaq Biotechnology (BIS) tracks the -2x or -200% daily performance of the biotech space. On Wednesday, LABD gained 12.6%, ZBIO rose 10.2% and BIS added 6.7%.
Clinton’s remarks calling for Mylan to drop prices of its EpiPen emergency allergy shot sent MYL shares plunging as much as 6.2% within minutes, reports Anna Edney for Bloomberg.
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The presidential nominee’s comments on Mylan as the “latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers,” also sent the broader Nasdaq Biotechnology Index falling as much as 3.6% Wednesday.
This was the third time over the past year that Clinton’s comments upended drug stocks. The presidential runner has repeatedly censured aggressive drug pricing. With most polls giving her a wide margin over Republican nominee Donald Trump, the markets are taking Clinton’s words more seriously.
Clinton’s statement renewed fear of “more political risk around drug pricing concerns and potential changes in the future,” Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said in a note.
“This risk is not going to just go away, but it has been quieter and lower in the political agenda over the last six months and just happens to be something new that has come up after nothing much recently and after a big biotech rally and investors were taken by surprise,” Yee added.
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iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF