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BEHIND THE MONEY: Is Biotech The Sector Of The Year?

Monday, 5 Jan 2009 | 1:59 PM ET

BEHIND THE MONEY: Is Biotech The Sector Of The Year?

Biotechnology stocks are getting a lot of chatter already in this very young year.

A Wall Street Journal 'Heard on the Street' column over the weekend noted that cash-rich big pharma may go shopping for biotechs that have late-stage drugs, in order to cover for their blockbusters coming off patent, such as Pfizer's Lipitor. Amylin is a possible target mentioned by the paper.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times notes that Pfizer is open to a deal with a biotech rival. Although,Mike Huckman, CNBC's Pharmaceuticals reporter, maintains that this is nothing new and that Pfizer CEO Kindler has hinted at this before. Still, the buzz is picking up for the sector, which outperformed the market dramatically last year.

But what's probably the most bullish piece of news on Biotechs (see gain in iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF today) is the outlook piece by JPMorgan's Geoffrey Meacham, the No. 2 analyst in the space, according to Institutional Investor magazine.

"We are positively inclined on the sector and like 2008," writes Meacham, citing "strong fundamentals for the large cap group, a favorable M&A environment and limited economic sensitivity."

CNBC's Huckman will be on the show tonight to discuss with the traders if and how you should play this group. In the past, Guy Adami has recommended Gilead Sciences , which gave investors a positive return last year and is currently the top 2009 pick of JPMorgan's Meacham. Karen Finerman has recommended the Nasdaq Biotech ETF in the past. Tune in tonight for updated trades.

OTHER NOTE: Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, the most-followed Apple analyst on The Street, will be on the show tonight to discuss Steve Jobs' latest health revelation (He's apparently OK), which has been an obsession of the show and this column. Kudos to CNBC's Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman for sticking to his guns (and his reporting) and not succumbing to the rumors floated constantly by the blogosphere. Goldman maintained through all of this that Jobs was not on his deathbed. Fast Money viewers who listened to Goldman are now better off, as the stock is poised to break above the point when those rumors sparked the aggressive selling in Apple shares.

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