At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines the stocks and stories that made news through various sectors during the previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.
A modest pullback on Friday capped off a solid run that had been fueled by encouraging jobs data, but some still argue that the new job growth is not enough to justify a general turnaround in economic indicators. Global tensions are also still in full swing, with the threat of an Israeli strike on Iran being openly discussed, along with talk of a total meltdown in Syria.
That's on top of continued turmoil in Europe, with Greece again dominating the international economic headlines as the country faces mass cuts or default. The turmoil led to a few high-profile resignations over the weekend.
All in all, it should be another exciting - and possibly volatile - week for the traders. With all the excitement, keep an eye on some of these stocks:
InVivo Therapeutics (NVIV.OB): Shares of InVivo Therapeutics are moving again after having retreated back to the two dollar level earlier this month. The company has numerous catalysts pending, including the commencement of human trials for its potentially breakthrough cure for spinal cord injuries (SCI) and paralysis, a biopolymer scaffold device (BSD) that has, in early studies, demonstrated a therapeutic effect in healing the spinal cord.
The BSD is being developed as a medical device, which would drastically reduce the time and path to approval, and has also demonstrated the ability in monkeys to not only cure SCIs themselves, but also prevent the onset of secondary injuries that ultimately lead to paralysis. That's key, since it's those secondary injuries that are believed to cause paralysis.
InVivo also has plans to utilize the BSD in combination with other drugs and stem cell therapies and is also developing an injectible hydrogel that, according to comments made by CEO and founder Frank Reynolds, might be even more successful than the BSD itself.
InVivo also received a boost when Geron Corp. (GERN) decided to halt the advancement of its prospective stem cell therapy for SCI, leaving InVivo as the arguable leader in the rather small field of companies tagged as potentially developing a cure for serious SCIs and paralysis.
Already partnered with the Miami Project, this company is also one that should be targeted by investors as a potential partnership or buyout play. Technology such as InVivo's could forever change the way SCIs and paralysis is treated, which could have much larger companies salivating, given the ten billion dollar market that exists for such treatment today.
With catalysts on the way and the stock already rebounding, NVIV is going to be one to watch for the upcoming week and well into 2012.
Pharmacyclics, Inc (PCYC): Pharmacyclics made some noise on Friday, surging by nearly twenty percent - a move of over three bucks - and closing the day at $23.23 after blowing away analyst earnings estimates in the company's most recent report.
This is a company followed by VFC's Stock House for years, when it traded for around a buck and when a move to the north side of two dollars was considered money, but once shares soared past the five dollar level - let alone into the teens - I found it hard to justify such a move while the company still had nothing yet out of Phase II trials. At the time, in fact, nothing was even almost out of Phase II.
Although my skepticism turned out to be wrong, as shares soared and remained in the high teens for quite some time, it's still hard to justify a market cap of closer to two billion than one with a pipeline not yet into Phase III.
The reason for the most recent run - and also for the bloated earnings report - was money already received from a partnership signed last year with a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) that came with a significant up-front payment, and the potential for even more royalties to be achieved over time.
With the earnings report fueling Friday's move, PCYC is going to be a stock to watch during the coming week, but it may not be solely for its potential as a continued runner. Shorts love to jump on stocks like this one that have just experienced big moves, but are still a ways away from raking in revenue that is not just the result of a partnership payment.
Capstone Turbine (CPST): As expected, Capstone Turbine (CPST) announced quarterly earnings last week, and although the street is calling it a "miss" based on consensus estimates from various analysts, the company recorded another solid quarter of growth and even warranted an upgrade from Ardour Capital.
Revenue for the quarter - the fiscal third for Capstone - rolled in at $27.5 million, a similar number when compared to the previous quarter, but margins were higher and the already-growing backlog continued to grow and now stands at $115 million.
It's also estimated that revenue for the year will end up well over thirty percent higher than it was last year.
Company shares declined by ten percent on Friday, with volume more than twice the daily norm as headlines emphasizing an earnings "miss" circulated, but the numbers show that the company has taken another step towards profitability, the elusive goal that - should CPST ever get there - cement the Capstone name as a major player in the "green" segment of the industrial sector.
Capstone also has an intriguing relationship with General Electric (GE) that could transform into something bigger, while Caterpillar (CAT) and Cummings (CMI) also remain as potential collaborators.
The Ardour upgrade seems to contradict all the other headlines, but CPST will be one to watch.
Titan Pharmaceuticals (TTNP.OB): Titan was a swift mover over the past couple of weeks, but as is the norm for this stock, the fast rise resulted in a quick fall, although not quite to the previously traded levels of just above a dollar.
The company announced last week another round of positive results from the Probuphine Phase III trials, this time reporting on an open-label, six-month safety re-treatment study (PRO-811) of patients with opioid dependence who previously completed a full six months of treatment in the previous trial.
Titan also confirmed the expected Q3 2012 filing of an NDA with the FDA for Probuphine in the treatment of opioid addiction, for which multiple studies have confirmed the treatment's effectiveness in that arena.
It has been long speculated by various sources that this company was on the verge of a major partnership or buyout list, but nothing has yet to materialize thus far. While there looks to be enough data to support an eventual FDA approval, it's also possible that big pharma or other potential partners may want to see Probuphine get past the FDA first before making a play.
Volume was light on Friday, but with another round of results out and another step taken to bring Probuphine closer to market, TTNP is still one to watch.
Immunocellular Therapeutics (IMUC.OB): Shares of Immunocellular Therapeutics (IMUC.OB) nearly touched the two dollar mark on multiple occasions last week and could be primed to try and breach that mark during this coming week.
The quick move to two dollars makes IMUC a near double in just a short period of time and the potential of the company's lead product candidate, ICT-107, in treating the very aggressive glioblastoma should have this stock on the radars of speculative investors for the duration of 2012, not just for the next week.
As reported in a 'Letter to Shareholders' earlier this month, Immunocellular will be on solid financial footing for the better part of the next couple of years, while study results from the Phase II glioblastoma trial are expected to be released - at least on an interim basis - well within that time period.
The resurgence of Dendreon (DNDN) has also sparked a recovery of the cancer immunotherapy sector as a whole, another factor contributing to IMUC's rapid rise. Although Immunocellular's technology is such that it may never experience the pricing and reimbursement problems encountered by Dendreon, which led to a Provenge sales slump.
IMUC's logistical and manufacturing advantages have the company already ahead of the game when projecting market implementation, and also have it positioned as a solid buyout candidate at a time when larger pharmaceutical and drug companies are looking for cheap buyout stories.
Having threatened the mark a few times last week, IMUC-through-two will be a story to watch this week.
Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI): Shares of SiriusXM look to have found a home at just above the $2.10 mark, and nearly thirty cents higher than where shares opened 2012.
The company is fresh off a fourth quarter earnings report that boasted a profit of over $70 million, a sharp turnaround from the same quarter of the previous year in which SIRI was in the loss column. The company also added 1.7 million new subscribers for the year, but lowered expectations for 2012 to 1.3 million new additions.
With profitability now a done deal for SiriusXM, it's possible that talk of a buyout is going to be renewed.
Late last year reports had it that Liberty Media Corporation (LCAPA, LCAPB, LSTZA, LSTZB) was gearing up to make a full takeover bid for SIRI due to comments made by Liberty President and CEO Greg Maffei relating to the "streamlining" of his company:
“The board of directors determined this was the right move to increase the value for both Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz shareholders by eliminating the ‘tracker discount’, increasing liquidity in the stock and creating a stronger acquisition currency."
The solid fourth quarter earnings report has SIRI right back in the spotlight. Consensus has it that the revenue number for 2012 will be nearly $3.4 billion - the company estimates closer to $3.3 billion - and it'll be a story to watch as the longs and shorts continue to battle it out amidst reinvigorated rumors of a buyout.
GelTech Solutions (GLTC.OB): After racing through a dollar earlier this month on high volume, shares of GelTech Solutions (GLTC.OB) took a breather to close out last week and finished the day Friday at sub-$1 prices. The downward volume that had shares retreating below that milestone marker was not as significant as the volume behind the move up, which will lead to some speculation that the pullback is the result of consolidation, stop-loss orders being wiped out, or day/swing/momentum traders moving on.
The company's lead product, FireIce, has revolutionary implications in the fire fighting and prevention industries and past statements in company press releases have indicated that 2012 could be a milestone year in terms of new sales and distribution.
Still a hot story to watch, even given Friday's drop in price.
Celsius Holdings (CELH.PK): A recent spike in trading volume has not materialized into any price movement for shares of Celsius Holdings (CELH.PK), and the company has been relatively silent for months, but with a consumer niche having been found - enough to stabilize revenue for a few quarters running now - it's worth keeping this company on the radar.
New flavors continue to hit the street and new Celsius success stories continue to be posted on the company's website, indications that the calorie-burning beverage may still be building a future after a couple of rough years when sales projections were far from being met.
At some point, the silence will end and updated numbers will hit the streets. Any surprises - or demonstrated growth from previous quarters - could lead to a quick spike in price, although financing will be a continued concern.
Cel-Sci Corp (CVM): Huge volume on Friday make CVM a stock to watch for the coming week. A recent financing deal sent shares south in a hurry, but they have since rebounded to over forty cents again. Cel-Sci released quarterly results last week, with no surprises noted, but it was made clear that additional funding is going to be needed to push its immunotherapeutic head and neck cancer treatment, Multikine, through the completion of the worldwide Phase III trial.
That funding could come at the hands of additional partnerships - Cel-Sci is already collaborating with Teva (TEV) and Orient Europharma - or dilutive financing.
As the Phase III trial progresses and the true potential of Multikine becomes clearer, CVM is going to remain a stock to keep an eye on.
Implant Sciences Corporation (IMSC.OB): Implant Sciences (IMSC.OB) announced last week that its Quantum Sniffer QS-B220 bench-top explosives trace detector had received the ASTM E2520-07 designation for "Standard Practice for Verifying Minimum Acceptable Performance of Trace Explosive Detectors."
As noted by Glenn Bolduc, President and CEO of Implant, in last week's press release, "the designation brings it another step closer to commercial adoption in the US. Non-TSA security screeners and first responders can now purchase and deploy our bench-top explosives and narcotics trace detector in complete confidence that it is an effective technology."
While making strong headway in other locations around the globe, distribution in the US is the holy grail being sought by Implant. Continue watching this one.
Disclosure: Long CPST, TTNP, GLTC, CELH, CVM, IMSC.