Floods of paper...rainclouds looming?

Judging by the amount of money brought in last week by publicly held biotech companies, one would have difficulty discerning that the tech market (yes, including biotech) is in a nasty funk.

Seven PIPEs, two IPOs and three follow-ons raised $1.2 billion. The feat is more impressive in a week in which the biotech market was hit with profit taking that drove the BioCentury 100 down 10 percent. The index has fallen 16 percent since the Nov. 7 U.S. presidential election, and has now surpassed the 11 percent drop in NASDAQ composite. NASDAQ traded down only a fraction of a percent in a volatile week last week.

The biotech downdraft was sparked by a Barron'sarticle that declared biotech profits remain "dangerously exposed" and recommended that investors take profits while they still exist (see BioCentury Extra, Monday Nov. 13).The article, along with a technology sell-off spurred by an earnings warning from Hewlett-Packard, drove the BioCentury 100 down 8.5 percent on Monday.

Still, Mitch Silber of The Carson Group argued that the biotech fundraising feats have everything to do with the sector's performance relative to other tech groups. Even with last week's slide, biotech remains a shining star. Year-to-date the BioCentury 100 is up 47 percent, while NASDAQ is down 26 percent. "Biotech is the best performer in the NASDAQ composite, and it's really been seen as the sector that's immune to economic concerns and technology earnings surprises," he said.

He's impressed at how the sector bounced back from the negative Barron's article, which ran over the prior weekend. "On Monday and Tuesday, the article caused a stir, and a lot of people were asking is this the spark like the Clinton/Blair comments in March? But the sector's come back nicely," he said.

However, the stock sales also raise the question of whether the new

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