With the quarter coming to a close on Friday, the broad markets all traded relatively flat for the week and some economic numbers in the United States hinted at a prolonged recovery while concerns in Europe continue to quell any all-out euphoria.
Spanish workers took to the streets in protest and strike over the government's plans to cut spending, reform labor laws and get a grip on the country's spiraling economy that boasts unemployment of over 20%.
Although the DOW is trading close to its all time highs, it's hardly likely that the markets can sustain such vigor while Europe as a whole is still straddling the lines of economic collapse, and it doesn't help that the general population across the pond is not on board with reform. But you can't blame the people for being unhappy that the already extremely high tax rates they pay are going even higher, at least for those with jobs.
Back in the US, the best short term risk/reward investment might be the Mega Millions right now. We talk about using the 'night on the town' money for speculative stocks, but with a half-billion dollars up for grabs, can't hurt to load up on some tickets.
Rumor has it that the Gingrich campaign staff is loading up on tickets in hopes of boosting the coffers to fund his sputtering campaign that just won't call it a day.
Gas and oil prices are still dropping. About time, you say? Too bad for the consumer that election years don't come around more often.
The UN is sending "observers" to Syria. Great. So the tank shells will continue to crash down on civilians while the International Community "observes" the action. I'm sure Assad is shaking in his boots right now.
Two billion dollars for the Dodgers? Looks like the Dodgers are going to be relevant on the field again real soon. Maybe they'll even trade for David Wright as the Wilpons continue to make a Mess of the Mets.
Stocks world-wide were up on Friday morning heading into the US open, capping off another solid quarter of rebound and painting eyes on what's up in the US markets for Friday...
Research In Motion Limited (RIMM): This one-time high flying company experienced another major earnings setback this week, as a quarterly loss of more than $100 million sent the board in house cleaning mode. BlackBerry sales are still slumping, although shipments for the quarter still beat pessimistic analysts estimates.
Top executives continue to flee Research In Motion (RIM) in droves and investors wonder what's next.
With Apple (AAPL) iPhones and Google's (GOOG) Androids dominating the smartphone markets right now, many are skeptical that RIM can rebound, with a pending launch of the next-generation BlackBerry smartphone being viewed as a last ditch effort to salvage the company before possibly selling out to another big player in the industry.
Partnerships have also been speculated, but to date nothing has been announced.
Are we looking at a company on its last leg right now? Barring a swift turnaround in sales somewhere, it sure looks like it.
Agenus, Inc. (AGEN): Agenus, Inc. (AGEN) continues to prove that this company is for real again, with a 13% move on Thursday pushing shares towards the seven dollar mark. Volume was again to the plus side of one million for the day, indicating continued strength and investor interest in the company.
It's likely, however, that if a buyout was imminent, a deal would have been consummated when AGEN shares were trading for half what they are now.
As a result of the expanded partnership, Glaxo now holds a 'first right of refusal' for any potential sale or partnership of AGEN's properties and technologies, which includes the Phase II cancer immunotherapy candidate, Prophage, in addition to the vaccine adjuvant QS-21 that is already used in many of Glaxo's late stage vaccine candidates.
The continuing boost in volume and price has AGEN on the map again and is continuously a company to watch.
Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN): Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) followed up a huge day on Wednesday with another four percent price spike on Thursday. The initial run was ignited when the company turned down an unsolicited buyout offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY)earlier in the week for $22/share, which valued the total deal at $3.5 billion.
Volume remained at nearly five times the daily norm on Wednesday as investors may be predicting a follow-up offer from Bristol, or even expecting another big player to join the fray. AstraZeneca (AZN) is another company that has been linked to Amylin in buyout rumors.
It's likely that we've already seen the best of any price runs that will materialize with AMLN, but the story is one to keep watching as it's another example of the buying spree that big pharma is on right now with many high profile drugs coming off patent over the coming years.
Coronado Biosciences, Inc. (CNDO): An up-and-comer in the market for the immunotherapeutic treatment of autoimmune disorders and cancer, Coronado Biosciences (CNDO) released its fourth quarter and full-year 2011 report this week. Coronado began trading on the Nasdaq last year and was tagged in February by Oppenheimer with an analyst rating of "Outperform."
Coronado has two flagship properties and technologies currently in development with numerous catalysts pending over the coming months in relation to both. The first, CNDO-201, is known as TSO (Trichuris suis ova or CNDO-201) and is a biologic for the treatment for numerous autoimmune diseases and is being applied to treat the indications of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis. A Phase I trial for Chron's disease has already been concluded and the company expects to launch a Phase IIb trial for the same indication during the second quarter of 2012.
Another Phase II trial is also expected to be launched by Coronado later this year, this one for CNDO-109, a biologic that activates natural killer (NK) cells, in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). An initial Phase I study has already been completed and presented and the expected launch of the Phase II is mid-2012.
Treating autoimmune diseases is a rapidly growing market, which plants Coronado in the position to capitalize on the growth of an area that is consistently looking for new treatments. Shares have been inching higher thus far in 2012, and given the market potential of this company's technologies, investors should continue to take notice as the pipeline progresses.
More to follow in the coming week regarding Coronado at VFC's Stock House.
Oncothyreon (ONTY): After announcing a stock offering this week, shares of Oncothyreon (ONTY) continued to slide towards the four dollar mark on Thursday, which happens to be the price of the offering.
The deal will net the company over forty million dollars and will fund the continuation of the company's pipeline of immunotherapeutic treatments for cancer. The company's latest-stage product candidate, Stimuvax, is partnered with Merck KGaA (MRK.F) and Phase III results are due to be released early next year.
As we discussed yesterday, the latest price slide may have opened up a buying opportunity for those looking to play the Phase III results.
Also noteworthy on Thursday...
Shares of Best Buy (BBY) dropped on Thursday on volume nearly five times the daily norm after an announcement that store closures, layoffs and nearly a billion dollars in cuts are coming during the coming years...Ampio Pharmaceuticals (AMPE) may be back in buy territory after again dropping to the low $3s...Implant Sciences (IMSC) is back over seventy cents after reports of continued sales of the company's explosives and narcotics detectors...Immunocellular Therapeutics (IMUC) holding the three dollar range...McDonald's (MCD) heading back towards $100...Titan Pharmaceuticals (TTNP) entering buy territory again with slip towards $1...Capstone Turbine (CPST) - high short interest, but also in buy territory, using recent trading history as an indicator.
Disclosure: Long MCD, CPST, AMPE, IMUC.
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