As recession fears achieve traction with buyers, drug shares ought to look much more enticing as a defensive possibility, based on Morgan Stanley. Analyst Matthew Harrison examined the efficiency of pharmaceutical and biotech firms throughout earlier recessions, discovering that they are in a position to preserve margins and nonetheless develop gross sales throughout downturns. “Historic U.S. drug quantity progress slowed by ~1%-3% throughout prior recessions, however remained constructive. Income progress slowed barely extra from decrease web costs … We count on resilient biopharma revenues as financial exercise slows,” Harrison wrote. For instance, Morgan Stanley’s analysis confirmed that giant cap biotech firms had constructive 12 months over 12 months progress in each quarter through the recession that started in 2008. Main pharmaceutical companies’ gross sales held up through the first half of that downturn earlier than contracting barely within the later levels. Nevertheless, that slowdown was due partially to expiring patents and never simply weakening demand, Morgan Stanley stated. “Total, the financial downturn contributed to income progress deceleration; nonetheless, large-cap Biopharma had been in a position to preserve their working margins and free money move,” Harrison wrote. Morgan Stanley has an obese score on the well being care sector, partially for its defensive qualities. The group has held up higher than the broad market this 12 months, with the Well being Care Choose Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) down 6.8% 12 months to this point vs an 18% drop within the S & P 500. When narrowing that focus to Huge Pharma, the efficiency appears to be like even higher. In actual fact, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb have traded at all-time highs this month . Morgan Stanley’s high decide in pharma is Eli Lilly , which has already been a winner in current months. The inventory is up greater than 10% 12 months to this point, and pays a dividend yield of 1.3%. Different shares within the pharma and biotech space with obese rankings embody Abbvie , Biomarin Prescription drugs and Seagen . Abbvie has carried out equally to Eli Lilly, however Biomarin and Seagen have each underperformed the well being care sector 12 months to this point. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.