Popular Biotech ETF On Pace For Steepest Daily Drop In a Month

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

A popular way to bet on the the biotech sector was trading sharply lower on Thursday and on track to register its worst one-day in a month. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF was down 1.8%, led by an about 11% decline in Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Novavax Inc. , with its shares off 6.4% on the session. The drop for the biotech group came amid a broad and sudden selloff in the overall technology sector that put the Nasdaq Composite Index on pace to log it sharpest daily fall since June 9, when the tech sector underwent a similar retreat, fueled on concerns about valuations among some of the group's biggest companies, including Apple Inc. , Amazon.com Inc., and Facebook Inc., which reported better-than-expected earnings late Wednesday. More broadly, the overall market was under pressure but off its worst levels of the day. The S&P 500 index was down 0.3% at 2,469, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.8%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading modestly higher, fueled by gains in Verizon Communications Inc. , which saw its shares up nearly 8%, more than offsetting a 2.3% decline in Apple's stock.

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