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Vertex Lifts These Biotech ETFs


Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) surged more than 42% Tuesday on volume that is already 11 times above the daily average after the company said two Phase III trials for its cystic fibrosis treatment showed encouraging results.

Analysts doubted the ability of Vertex to combine therapies into an effective cystic fibrosis treatment prior to the release of the trial results, but some have hopped on the Vertex bandwagon with Citigroup placing a $136 price target on the stock, saying “Our positive stance is based on the cystic fibrosis franchise as this is a lucrative market with little competition,” reports Forbes.

Vertex now has a market value north of $22.2 billion and its surge today, as is often the case with these wild one-day pops from biotech stocks, is helping a few ETFs that track the industry.

The First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (FBT) , which has the largest weight to Vertex at almost 4.7%, is higher by 2.7%. That is good enough to make FBT the fifth-best non-leveraged ETF to this point Tuesday and the best ETF with a domestic focus. FBT is now just 5% below its March peak, another sign that much to the chagrin of some short sellers, biotech stocks and ETFs have recouped most of the lost endured during the March/April tumble experienced by the sector. [A Hated Biotech Rally]

The Market Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH) is also up 2.7%. Vertex is the eighth-largest holding in that ETF at a weigh of almost 4.1%.

Traders and investors familiar with biotech stocks and ETFs have seen this movie before. That being the impact just one biotech stock that is not a major of an ETF can have on said ETF if it does something like 40% or double in just a single trading day.

Earlier this month, the PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio (PBE) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) soared because the two ETFs feature the largest weights among biotech funds to Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX), which tripled in a day after news Merck (MRK) will acquire the company. [Why These Biotech ETFs are Soaring]

In January, XBI surged more than 7% in one day after shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) nearly quadrupled after trials for the company’s liver disease treatment proved successful. [Intercept Lifts This Biotech ETF]

The day those trial results were released, Intercept occupied just 1.6% of XBI’s weight.

First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund