(Adds comment, details) ** Biotechnology and broader healthcare sector stocks fall on concerns about possible drug pricing regulation and after industry complains the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement falls short on patent protection for drugs
** Nasdaq Biotechnology index down 0.7 pct, S&P 500 healthcare sector index up 0.3 pct, weakest performer on the day; SPX up 1.8 pct at the close. Biotech stocks have recently been beaten down on concerns about price regulation.
** Sentiment on the group hurt by double digit decline in Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals, not in the U.S. index but subject of a Monday New York Times report about pricing strategies
** “The big issue is the light being shined on drug pricing and drug companies being portrayed as gougers,” said Stephen Massocca, chief investment officer at Wedbush Equity Management in San Francisco. “How damaging will it be to pricing for drug companies.”
** Re the trade agreement, Biotechnology Industry Organization said in a statement it was “very disappointed” that the TPP seemed to fail to include 12 years of data exclusivity for biologics
** Valeant ADRs down 10.3 pct on the day and holding on to a 14.2 pct gain year-to-date that was once of more than 84 pct