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Biotech Booms Amid Pre-Christmas Snoozefest


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

Ahead of the Christmas holiday, the biotech sector staged an impressive rally Wednesday following two days of ugly action.

Biotech stocks have been under significant pressure due to the emergence of a new pricing scare faced by key name Gilead (GILD). The group fell hard as fears spread, but found a bottom early this morning.

The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) traded as high as $319.14 last Friday, and bounced off today's premarket low of $292.11.

IBB finished 1.7% higher at $299.80, making it the second-best performing major sector.

But utilities were at the top as the Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) rose 1.9% to $47.97.

Crude oil took a dip today following a two-day bounce, sending energy shares lower, and airlines and transports higher.

However, high-yield bond ETFs strengthened today, breaking the recent pattern of sell-offs in concert with oil.

In all, outside of the booms in biotech and utilities, it was a very slow day.

While the S&P 500 (SPX) made a new all-time high at 2087.56 today, it traded in an extremely narrow 6-point range, and due to a last-minute dive, it finished down 0.01%.

The NASDAQ (COMP) did slightly better, rising 0.2%, aided by the biotech rally. Small caps also outperformed with the Russell 2000 (RUT) finishing up 0.4% at 1206.77. That marked a new high for the rally off the October low, and put it within striking distance of the 1213.55 all-time high set on July 1.

On the economics front, weekly jobless claims came in at 280,000, beating the 290,000 consensus. However, continuing claims were fractionally above expectations.

Friday's Financial Outlook

US markets will be closed on Thursday in observance of the Christmas holiday.

Friday should be another quiet day as there are no major US economic or earnings reports on the calendar. However, given that volume is likely to be light, there is a chance for volatility if market-moving news surfaces.

Japan will report retail sales, CPI, employment, and industrial production data.

P.S. T3 Live is accepting pre-orders for Scott Redler's 2015 Market Outlook special report. We've made some big improvements from last year's report, including the price -- we're offering a $50 discount when you get in before our New Year's release.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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