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GenomeWeb Index Flat in February; Some Firms See Losses After Q4 Results

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index was flat month over month in February, as some stocks seemed to recover from steep losses in January while others fell on fourth quarter results.

The GenomeWeb Index performed roughly in line with the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which gained less than half a percent during the month. But it fared better than the Nasdaq, which fell a little more than 1 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which finished the month nearly 5 percent lower.

In contrast to January, when only one company in the GenomeWeb Index gained in share price, several firms saw their stock rise last month. Though most of the gains were modest, Alere led the group with a 43 percent jump in share price, driven by the news on Feb. 1 that Abbott has agreed to acquire the firm for a whopping $5.8 billion. The deal values Alere at $56 per share. Alere's shares closed at $54.11 on Feb. 1, up from a closing price of $37.20 on Jan. 29.

Bruker also saw its shares rise significantly in February, climbing 16 percent. The company recently reported its fourth quarter earnings, and although revenues fell 6 percent year over year, the company managed to beat analysts' consensus estimates for revenue and adjusted earnings per share. The firm's mass spec business had a particularly strong year in 2015, with sales of the MALDI Biotyper microbiology platform growing the fastest.

However, several companies in the index saw their stocks decline this month. Leading the losers was Exact Sciences with a 23 percent drop in share price. The company's Q4 revenues rose, but it narrowly missed consensus estimates. The firm also announced it had filed lawsuits against BCBS of North Carolina and Humana for refusing to pay claims for its colorectal cancer screening test Cologuard totaling some $1.2 million.

Pacific Biosciences and Natera followed closely behind Exact, with share losses of 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. PacBio's shares fell after the company announced Q4 and 2015 earnings, missing analysts' estimates for revenues for both periods.

Natera's shares have declined steadily throughout the month. However, the firm received some negative news in the form of a class-action lawsuit filed against it by the City of Warren Police and Fire Retirement System on behalf of the company's shareholders in mid-February. The plaintiffs allege that the registration statement Natera filed in connection with its IPO "contained materially incorrect or misleading statements and/or omitted material information that was required to be disclosed."