The general sell-off in the Dow Jones industrial average Fridayregistered as a minor inconvenience among biotechnologyissues, as the two indexes of widely held industry companiesfell but not as far.
The Dow average slumped 53.76 points by the close of thesession to close at 3,200.61, its lowest level in almost sixmonths. Meantime, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Indexof 20 biotechnology firms fell 2.24 points to close at 126.78,and the AMEX Biotechnology Index of 15 companies was off 2.6points to finish the week at 139.5. Both indexes, however, werehit hard during the week, as each traded Monday about eightpoints higher than Friday's close.
Options trading in both indexes is scheduled to begin on theCBOE and the AMEX on Friday. The Dow average lost 49.71points for the week.
Economists blamed unemployment figures for the slump in theDow. The economists said that though the figures, whichshowed nonfarm payroll employment fell by 57,000, showed aloss that was only half of what they projected, they clearlyattested to stubborn weakness in the economy.
There were few significant gainers or losers amongbiotechnology companies Friday. Applied BioscienceInternational (NASDAQ:APBI) was the big percentage loser onthe day, dropping $1.38 to $11.75, followed by Aphton Corp.(NASDAQ:APHT),. which was down $1.50 to $14.75.
U.S. Bioscience, in which trading was halted Tuesday because ofan order imbalance after analysts at Alex. Brown lowered theirrating on the company to "neutral," lost 25 cents to close at$7.13. U.S. Bioscience stock closed Monday at $8.75.
Bear, Stearns & Co. upgraded its rating on Genzyme Friday to"buy" from "neutral," but Genzyme (NASDAQ;GENZ) closed upjust 25 cents at $36.75. Analysts at Bear Stearns were notavailable to comment on the upgrade Friday.
Gensia Pharmacueticals (NASDAQ:GNSA), which plunged 41percent in two sessions of the previous week, was up 75 centsFriday to close at $20.25, up from its close of $18.88 on Sept.23.
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