The case for buying the biotech bounce

Two popular biotech exchange-traded funds have been on a tear lately, and some strategists see more upside ahead from both fundamental and technical perspectives.

The iShares Nasdaq Biotech ETF (IBB) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) both just logged four consecutive weeks of gains. They have not posted such streaks since August 2016 and June 2016, respectively, at a time when biotech stocks were on a roller coaster, mired in political rhetoric in the heat of the campaign season.

However much political uncertainty surrounds biotech names — with the fate of Affordable Care Act now left to President Donald Trump's administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, biotech is attractive at current levels, said Max Wolff, market strategist at 55 Capital.

"I like the names. I think there's a sort of opportunity here," Wolff said Friday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"There's unusual dislocation and tumult in the future of health care, who's going to pay for what — markets don't seem to care about that now. That gives us a little short-term pause," Wolff said.

Longer term, however, he likes biotech given "the demographics of aging, the global market and it looks like this is an area that might be relatively less likely to be affected or slammed into by various Twitter policies or public politician-led discussions about drug prices."

Biotech stocks, particularly the XBI, look attractive on a technical level to Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer

"I think you want to own the smaller to mid-cap stocks in the group, which are actually showing some more relative strength here," Wald said Friday on "Power Lunch," pointing to a chart of the XBI.

In a chart of the XBI, it appears to be breaking above its six-month "consolidation," Wald noted, all above a rising 200-day moving average.

"So for upside, we think XBI gets back to $80. That'll take the ETF more or less near where it started to break down back at peak levels around 2015, very strong setup here," he said.


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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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