These stocks are pennies away from a 'structural breakdown,’ technician says

Beaten-up biotech stocks could fall further, according to one technical analyst who sees trouble in the charts.

A handful of biotech names like Celgene, Amgen and Biogen fell Wednesday after remarks by President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with Time magazine were released.

"I'm going to bring down drug prices. I don't like what's happened with drug prices," Trump told the magazine in conjunction with his designation on Wednesday as "Person of the Year."

The iShares Nasdaq Biotech ETF (IBB) fell nearly 3 percent for its worst day since October. Meanwhile, top holdings Celgene, Amgen and Biogen fell 4 percent, 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

"The technicals have been eroding for some time. We have interest rates rising, which is a macro headwind for the group, and you have a very aggressive factor rotation from growth into value, all of which are playing against biotech here," Rich Ross, head of technical analysis at Evercore ISI, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

The IBB is down 21 percent year to date. On a two-year chart of the IBB, Ross points to a level of resistance at 300, which the ETF has had trouble breaking through this year. To the downside, Ross noted that 250 serves as a key level of support.

On a longer-term chart of the ETF, Ross said if it does in fact break below that support, then "we have to consider a structural breakdown from a multiyear top after a five-year run of outperformance versus the broader market."

"That could set the stage for a multiyear run of underperformance, which likely has already begun," he added.

The pullback in biotech stocks comes on the heels of politicians' rhetoric around drug pricing. Earlier this year, remarks on addressing increased drug prices, made by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, pushed biotech lower on fears of more stringent regulation in the space.

Max Wolff, market strategist at 55 Capital, said the market may in fact be overreacting this time, given Trump's "likelihood to change his mind on any number of things, on any number of positions."

"The big risks here are more risks to the particulars of the single companies' efforts in the space," Wolff said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Wolff is bullish on biotech at these levels, given biotech's part in growing areas of "concierge medicine" — a practice in which a patient pays an annual fee in retaining the services of their primary care physician — and DNA-based medicine. And along with the aging U.S. population, Wolff said, he believes biotech names can thrive.


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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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