Monday, March 26, 2001
Thanks in part to a 3.6 percent gain on Friday, the BioCentury 100 closed the week down only 6 percent. The spate of bad news that poured out over the course of the week made it seem worse than the numbers indicate. And anything looks good by comparison to the prior week's 14 percent hosing. Still, last week's 6 percent drop marks the sixth time this year the index has fallen by more than 5 percent in a week.
Making the Sunday night highlight reel were several big caps, including Applied Biosystems (ABI), which tumbled 41 percent on the week after warning of a slowdown in sequencer sales (see Cover Story); Immunex (IMNX), which tumbled 45 percent after two late-stage clinical setbacks; and bellwether Amgen (AMGN), which lost 9 percent of its value following a bearish sellside analyst comment.
The NASDAQ Composite shrugged off the biotech news to trade up 2 percent on the week, but the big caps lost ground. The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 3.3 percent, and the S&P lost 0.9 percent.
Market watchers expect this week to bring official word that that NASDAQ has acquired a majority stake in EASDAQ. NASDAQ is said to be investing $14 million along with several investment banks, reportedly including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, as minority shareholders, to create NASDAQ Europe (see Ebb & Flow, Feb. 26).
The deal comes too late to revive the European ambitions of Knight Securities, a major market maker on both NASDAQ and EASDAQ which has pared back with the market downturn. The trading concern had hoped to raise $100 million from on-line brokers wishing to participate in a European roundtable but was only able to attract some $30 million. One of the first casualties of this shortfall was Quartz Capital Partners, Knight's high tech investment banking arm, which was closed at the start of the month.