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Illumina, Alere Drag Down GenomeWeb Index in April

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index fell nearly 1 percent in April, as disappointing preliminary earnings from Illumina and some concerns about whether Abbott would complete its acquisition of Alere dragged down the stocks of those firms.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained less than 1 percent during the month, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained 3 percent, outperformed the GenomeWeb Index. However, the Index outperformed the Nasdaq, which finished the month nearly 2 percent lower.

The performance of the index reversed the 6 percent gain made in March. A majority of stocks made gains during the month, however they were quite modest. The decliners saw much bigger drops, on average, than the gainers saw increases.

Fluidigm led the winners in April with a 19 percent gain in stock price. Though there was no obvious reason for the gains, the shares gained the most steam around the time Fluidigm announced when it would report first quarter earnings.

Pacific Biosciences came in second in April with a 14 percent jump. The company reported its first quarter earnings on April 21, beating analysts' estimates for revenues and loss per share, and announcing a software upgrade for its Sequel system.

GenMark Diagnostics rounded out the top three in April, with a 12 percent rise in share price. Here also there was no obvious reason for the gain, though it could be anticipation for its Q1 earnings report. The company beat analyst estimates for revenues and loss per share in Q4 2015.

Alere once again, and perhaps unsurprisingly, led the losers this month with a 23 percent decrease in share price. The firm reported on April 28 that Abbott had attempted to terminate their merger agreement and pay Alere a termination fee of $30 million to $50 million to pay for transaction expenses. Alere's board rejected the proposal, but this news comes at a difficult time for the company, which has yet to file its 2015 earnings report. In March, the firm reported that it had received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice for matters related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Alere was followed by Illumina, which fell 17 percent in March. On April 18, the firm said its estimated first quarter revenues grew 6 percent over the first quarter, falling short of expectations. Illumina estimated its Q1 revenues to be around $572 million, while analysts, on average, had expected revenues of $596.3 million.

Further compounding the firm's troubles this month, a court in the UK said it would postpone separate NIPT patent infringement lawsuits Illumina has filed against various companies there. The suits will proceed concurrently but will not see the inside of a courtroom until 2017.