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At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines some news items, stocks and stories that made headlines during the previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.

The market demise that began with Google's (GOOG) surprisingly weak earnings report about ten days ago - which was then followed by additional salvos of dismal earnings from other industry leaders in multiple sectors - continued last week with an early-week drop that saw the DOW sitting at just above the 13,000 mark by the close on Friday. Few signs of economic strength and improving earnings were offered to help keep enthusiasm afloat and pessimism at bay, although the two percent growth in the US GDP reported last week beat most analyst estimates and has warded off any immediate concerns of a return to recessionary times. The news was played down by many pundits, however, and the markets failed to react with any conviction as earnings reports continued to disappoint...

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Sunshine (SSH) shares were moving higher on Monday, trading up by five percent after having dropped to near the six dollar mark late last week following the airing of funding concerns on the Seeking Alpha website by an individual investor who held no position in the stock.  The concerns, as it turns out, may have been a tad bit overblown as they did not address the fact that the C-Pulse Heart Assist system had already received a CE Mark approval in Europe and is on track to start registering commercial sales as soon as within the current quarter.  Additional concerns were raised - and then debunked - regarding competition from other heart-assist devices on the market, specifically those marketed by Heartware International (HTWR) and Thoratec (THOR), for example, given that the C-Pulse is implanted outside of a patient's bloodstream, a huge advantage over any purported competition...

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A little over a month ago Synergy Pharmaceuticals (SGYP) announced that it had filed an Investigational New Drug (IND) with the FDA for a second GI pipeline candidate, SP-333, an announcement that piqued investor interest in this company's ability to potential become a big player in the GI field later on down the road.  Until that time Synergy had mainly attracted investor interest for the potential of its lead drug candidate, Plecanatide, which is currently being investigated in a Phase IIb/III trial for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), with further trials planned for Plecanatide in the treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), too.  Shares ran to the seven dollar mark earlier this year as the potential of Plecanatide became appreciated by the speculative investors of the sector and another push over five materialized following the approval of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals' (IRWD) Linzess early last month.  Linzess, as previously discussed, shares the same origins and mechanism-of-action as Plecanatide and analysts believe that the two will perform comparably on the market, with a potential edge going to Plecanatide for a more favorable side effect profile...

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At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines some news items, stocks and stories that made headlines during the previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.

Always an innovator and market-place leader, Google (GOOG) once again managed to do something that no other company had yet been able to do. The current earnings season was long-expected to be a disappointing one, but as report after lackluster report rolled in - along with some revised guidance to the downside - the markets traded relatively unscathed, remaining above the disappointing fray and leaving many with the impression that the few earnings surprises that did emerge provided enough juice so that the season would come and go without any major market shift transpiring...until Google reported...

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Shares of Sunshine Heart (SSH) were hit fairly hard this week, dropping to lows over the mid-week period that had not been seen for months. Given that the share price dip was sparked by investor concerns that may be quite unjustified, the potential for a rebound exists for the near term, and maybe even more so for the long term. Leading the charge to the downside may have been investor questions that surfaced this week regarding the company's cash position and potential competition that Sunshine's C-Pulse Heart Assist system, a device that has thus far proven to not only halt the progression of heart failure in patients with Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure, may face on the open market. Additional concerns were raised at the fact that C-Pulse would not even be slated to reach market in the United States until 2015, before which time the company could be susceptible to multiple rounds of financing that could result in severe dilution for retail investors...

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Just as easily as the markets drop, they too can rebound - as proven this week with the DOW's recovery back to the 13,500 mark on not-so-disappointing earnings reports by some key players in multiple sectors and continued encouraging economic indicators, including a boost in housing starts to four-year highs that reinvigorates enthusiasm in the sector that has arguably taken the worst hit since economic crisis of a few years ago.  The positive mood spread globally as Asian and European shares also enjoyed early-week market stability.

Back in the US, a huge shakeup in the banking sector overshadowed the earnings talk as Citigroup Inc (C) CEO Vikram Pandit surprisingly stepped down, automatically leading investors to concentrate more on the future direction of that company than on the present day earnings.  Bank of America Corp (BAC) emerged from its own earnings report relatively unscathed, beating estimates on one account, but missing on another.  The mixed report detracted little from what's looks to be rebounding housing and earnings numbers and financial headlines following the report indicated that the sector could be in for an overall upswing, with eyes again towards the future...

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Investors may be wondering if Dendreon (DNDN) can ever catch a break.  A few years ago positive Phase III results for the company's immunotherapeutic prostate cancer treatment defied the critics and set the stage for an historic approval by the FDA in May, 2010, which sent shares soaring towards the forty dollar mark, but since that time the company has been plagued by slumping Provenge sales, questionable reporting practices, and continued attacks from what some would consider the 'peanut gallery.' 

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At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines some news items, stocks and stories that made headlines during the previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.

Weeks of speculation regarding an earnings season market meltdown started to play out to form last week as each of the first four trading days resulted in significant drops before a luke-warm Friday halted the skid and prevented an all-out panic.  September's multi-year highs could soon be forgotten moving into the new trading week as investors remain unconvinced that there are enough earnings surprises in store to support a continued move higher, or even to fend off a further drop.  Some companies are out there 'beating the street,' per say, and guiding higher - Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI) upped its subscriber forecast for the year last week, for example - while both JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) beat profit expectations this past Friday.  Stark warnings from both Alcoa (AA) and Chevron (CVX), however, significantly impacted mid-week trading and even while the somewhat encouraging aspects of the JPM and WFC impressed on one account, slowing revenue numbers from the two banking giants concerned investors enough to leave shares of each company trading in the red for the day...

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It's a general rule of thumb that when it starts to look like the markets may be in for a downturn, investors start looking to take profits and their positions to cash in anticipation of more attractive entry points later on down the road.  Another strategy, however, is a move towards gold and other precious metals, as the value of such properties has only grown substantially over the past decades, especially given the widespread uncertainty surrounding the global equity markets in the midst of the global economic meltdown.  Nevada is currently a experiencing a now-generation 'Gold Rush' that is not only creating new jobs in the State, but is also offering smaller companies and speculative investors an opportunity to capitalize on the trend. While the big players in the sector may provide stability and notable growth over the long haul, more speculative investors may dabble with the start-ups and those companies that may still be in the earlier stages of drilling and/or exploration...

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The DOW experienced another triple digit drop on Wednesday as weak earnings expectations and continued concerns expressed by the IMF about slowing global growth weighed heavily on trading during the mid-week period. Alcoa (AA) received the earnings spotlight on Tuesday evening and the company's results didn't exactly disappoint, but it was a tame revision of guidance that contributed to Wednesday's drop, as did Chevron's (CVX) stark revision of expectations. It wasn't expected to be a stellar earnings season by any means, so a few surprises here and there along the way could spark a broad-market rebound, but as long as the economic trends continue in line with the IMF forecasts, investors may be more apt to jump ship with cash in hand and wait for a re-entry point than to ride out the days of triple digit drops on hopes of a quick rebound.

Although the color of the markets may have been painted red so far during the week, there are still plenty of mid-week upside and downside movers to keep an eye on - here's just a few of them...

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Shares of AEterna Zentaris (AEZS) received a boost last month when Roth Capital Partners initiated coverage of the company with an enthusiastic 'Buy' rating and a price target that was nearly triple where shares were trading at the time, but the announcement and implementation of a six-for-one reverse split (RS) quickly sent shares spiraling south and reversed what had quickly become the best positive trend enjoyed by AEterna shareholders since before the Phase III Perifisone failure of earlier this year.  Shares received another spark this week, however, when the Maxim Group issued a similarly encouraging forecast on the company when it, too, initiated coverage with a 'Buy' rating and a price target nearly triple the current prices...

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At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines some news items, stocks and stories that made headlines during the previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.

The markets opened the week relatively flat again this week as pundits more forcibly predicted that a broad market downturn may ultimately take effect, citing some high-profile profit warnings as the earnings season kicks off.  In addition to the expected earnings weakness, recent comments from the International Monetary Fund have also emphasized the growing risk of another all-out global recession, words strong enough to see European shares sputter early this week.  Other causes of concern revolve around increasing tensions in the Middle East and the threat of the Syrian civil war stretching to other nations in the region, such as Turkey...

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The volatile trend continues in the markets, but the DOW has done a pretty good job at remaining in the range of 13,500 as the mood was merry at the mid-week point, given the somewhat-encouraging economic indicators and comments from the Fed earlier in the week.  Barring any European developments that may influence trading trends beforehand, all eyes will now be on Friday's employment numbers.

Amid the overall market movement this week, there were also some individual mid-week movers (both to the up and downside) that might be worth keeping an eye on...

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Last week we identified Sunshine Heart (SSH) as one of five share price dips that were worth paying attention to for the potential of each stock to experience a quick rebound, given their respective pending catalysts.  Although not all of those picks has yet to rebound, it didn't take long for Sunshine shares to bounce back as the company released another round of milestone news this week announcing the conditional approval for an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) of the C-Pulse Heart Assist system by the FDA.  C-Pulse is a medical device that has thus far in development proven to halt - and possibly reverse - the effects and progression of heart failure in patients with Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure and the conditional approval allows the company to move forward with its planned US trial later this year.  Already this year the company has received an approval in Europe for its flagship product and positive results from a North American feasibility study have paved the way for the upcoming US trial that will be geared towards receiving an FDA approval. 

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