Tech addicts may not have noticed the full measure of biotech's comeback in 1999, but the numbers say the BioCentury 100 edged out the NASDAQ Composite, adding 50 percent on the quarter and closing the year up 87 percent. By comparison, the tech-laden NASDAQ indicator added 48 percent in the fourth quarter and 86 percent on the year.

New-tech clearly was the place to be, as the S&P 500 added 15 percent in 4Q to put it up a more modest 20 percent on the year, and the Dow Jones Industrials gained 11 percent on the quarter and 25 percent on the year.