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Roundup Randoms

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I'm not kidding. The oil thing was a joke...

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We interrupt the normal Biotech Roundup to bring you Roundup Randoms instead…

  • When I sat down to write a long-ish note about options, their effect on dev-stage biotech stocks, and pinning to a strike last Thursday, I decided to use Dendreon (DNDN) as an example. I had no idea they were releasing good news and would become such an astonishing example of exactly how much pricing push comes from the relatively small number of options contracts that are traded on these names.

  • My week? Thanks for asking. Out to Chicago, signed a bunch of books, back to Seattle. Wednesday-Friday: meetings, push to add content to the new site, phone calls, meetings, new furnace, meetings, pull wiring into the new kitchen. Oh, and a meeting. Did I mention it is also biotech "earnings" season?

  • Biotech has been holding up rather well. The string of six days of positive breadth in the NASDAQ Biotech Index (NBI) I wrote about last week was broken by four days of negative breadth as a strongly overbought condition was worked off. Yesterday the switch flipped and the chart bounced higher, which continues today.

  • I still think the number one item to watch to determine where the markets are likely to go in 2007 is the relative strength of the NASDAQ versus the DJIA and S&P-500. If the NASDAQ starts to outperform, the pain on the short side seen in the last month is nothing.

  • So I decided to go with the full-suspension mountain bike, for those who kindly sent me e-mails counseling me on full-suspension versus hard tail. I'm still trying to get used to the extra weight. If you're a very fit cyclist, though, I can see the attraction. You don't need much technique to climb: Point, shoot, go. The suspension takes care of the rest. For the not-as-fit, the extra weight from the rear suspension is noticeable.

  • How hot is the anti-infective space? It seems like every time we turn around there is news on some new hepatitis drug, influenza vaccine, or anti-bacterial. Nearly half the near-term biotech IPOs are from anti-infective companies. In the hep space, please exercise some caution. It is very, very crowded there and many of the press releases we read are promising, but sparse on the kind of data that would get clinicians excited about the drugs.

  • I am enjoying all the conspiracy theories on declining oil floating around, especially from those who pish-poshed the idea oil prices ran up in 2004 as part of a campaign to defeat President Bush. If you're an oil magnate with enough money to, say, build you and your neighbors an indoor ski slope in the middle of a desert, why not bet heavily long in the oil pits to boost the price? Since you control the spigot, you can always reduce output if the position starts going against you.

  • The previous random was tongue-in-cheek humor.

  • No, really. It was. Honest.

  • Thanks for the white light to my best buddy's Mom. I can report that she felt better the following day after that post than she has in months, as corny as that might sound. Y'all are fabulous.

  • I was chatting with some friends and colleagues about Sarbanes-Oxley the other day. This law needs to go away or at least be dramatically revised. It increases timidity and vacillation among honest people, adds greatly to the problem of overcomplicated financial reporting, drives listings overseas, and won't stop anyone inclined to cheat shareholders from doing exactly that. I don't hold out much hope that the same community that urged the farce of options expensing on all of us will come to their senses on this issue, though.

  • So Dell (DELL) announces $400-500 AMD-based laptops three days after I fork over $900 (including added batteries & gizmos) for my new Gateway (GTW) NX560X. Am I steamed? Nope. Happy to pay the extra not to be a Vista guinea pig. I know the "Vista will drive the market higher" crowd is louder and louder the closer we get to the presumed launch. And I've written about how the new OS could spur tech spending. But I'm just not sure the effect (or the adoption) will be like flipping a switch. This isn't 3.1 to 95 or 95/98 to XP in my mind – except perhaps for AMD.
Position in DNDN

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