Brian.oco 0 Posting Whiz

Investors are in survival mode right now, just trying to hang on in a market that has given away much of this year's gains. Key culprits are the ongoing credit crisis, which has banks and lenders reeling under the weight of billion dollar losses (hello, Wachovia) and from a weak dollar, which crimping overseas investments in the products of U.S. companies.

Consequently, last week was one of the worst in recent memory on Wall Street. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500 each fell 2.2%, and the Nasdaq was down a staggering 3.5%. One of the few sectors I like these days -- biotech-- was also down 1.1% based on the benchmark Biotech Index. That's a little better than the rest of the market, but down is down, and it's certainly time to be careful about biotech stocks in particular and most sectors in general.

Still, over the long haul, I think biotech is a good place to be for investors, even in a down market. Late on Friday, the biotech sector staged a mini-rally, after traders figured out that the selloff in biotech stocks was a bit much. That's a telling, if innocuous sign. My thinking is that biotch stocks are being dragged down by the rest of the market and excessively so. Overall, the industry is healthy, plenty of new drugs are in the pipeline, regulatory issues about greenlighting clinical trials and approving new drugs are calming down after some volatility from 20004-2006, and overall fundamentals appear solid.

So, while I understand if investors want to take their money out of the markets and into sidelined cash positions, biotech should be a safe haven if the market continues to deteriorate. The professional traders know that down times are opportunity times. With prices low, this is a great time to get in to a biotech market that should be insulated from any long term investment woes.

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