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Biogen Lifts Nasdaq to Near-Record; Leads China Internet Stocks Higher

By Dan Caplinger - Jul 8, 2020 at 2:35PM

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The Nasdaq once again led the way for the broader stock market.

The stock market has gotten back some of its turbulence, but the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 2.09%) has maintained its leadership role. Even as other major market benchmarks struggled to stay in positive territory, the Nasdaq flirted with its record levels, climbing 1% as of 3 p.m. EDT. The Nasdaq 100 Index of the biggest Nasdaq-listed stocks rose by a similar amount.

The biotech industry has received a lot of attention because of the prospects for developing treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus. However, Biogen (BIIB 1.27%) posted gains today based on hopes for treating a different disease. Elsewhere, Chinese internet stocks were broadly higher, with (JD 0.19%) being the biggest gainer in the Nasdaq 100.

Biogen has high hopes to beat this tough disease

Biogen shares climbed 4% on Wednesday as the biotech giant submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At issue is a potential treatment for a disease that has long resisted researchers: Alzheimer's.

Biogen's submission of an FDA biologics license application for its aducanumab comes after some extended collaboration with regulators. It includes clinical data from two phase 3 studies as well as an earlier phase 1b study. Biogen has asked the FDA to give the application priority review status in the hopes of becoming the first company to produce a therapy that can slow the health decline caused by Alzheimer's.

Sign with Biogen name and logo on it, with landscaping nearby.

Image source: Biogen.

It was far from certain that Biogen would ever get to this point. In early 2019, aducanumab appeared likely to fail to achieve primary endpoints in a phase 3 study involving symptoms of Alzheimer's. However, subsequent results restored Biogen's confidence in the drug. The unusual situation prompted the biotech to work with the FDA to try to move forward.

There's still no guarantee that Biogen's Alzheimer's treatment will get final approval. Nevertheless, investors are pleased to see aducanumab at least get a chance.

China gains ground

Elsewhere, China-based internet stocks got a nice boost. gained 5%, but some non-Nasdaq peers like Alibaba Group Holding (BABA -0.10%) and Tencent Holdings (TCEHY -1.52%) posted even bigger gains.

Fundamentally, internet businesses in China have seen some of the same tailwinds as their counterparts in the U.S. during the coronavirus crisis. Even though the worst of the pandemic may be over in China, residents are still looking to minimize their risk, and that's added a new element to the convenience of e-commerce.

Moreover, companies are looking at various ways to boost their share prices. Alibaba is mulling over an initial public offering of its Ant Financial fintech subsidiary. Other companies are looking at various strategic moves, following SINA's (SINA) leveraged buyout offer from CEO Charles Chao. For in particular, the company's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange appears to have drummed up more support for the stock.

Tech stocks in the U.S. have rocketed higher, so it's not surprising to see China's tech industry wanting to get in on the action. Investors can expect to see further efforts to help share prices rise in the near future.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Biogen,, and Tencent Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends Sina. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Biogen Inc. Stock Quote
Biogen Inc.
$220.99 (1.27%) $2.77, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$57.05 (0.19%) $0.11
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$13,047.19 (2.09%) $267.27
SINA Corporation Stock Quote
SINA Corporation
Tencent Holdings Limited Stock Quote
Tencent Holdings Limited
$38.44 (-1.52%) $0.59
Alibaba Group Holding Limited Stock Quote
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
$94.77 (-0.10%) $0.10

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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