Heading into a major summer long weekend, stock volume and trading activity typically slows to a halt. The below listed companies are some of the exceptions because of strong stock specific news stories that drove their prices on major volume. Investors would be wise to spend some time sifting through the below listed stocks. Not only could they continue to move this week, they could garner renewed interest after the holiday.
GSV Capital Corp (GSVC)
The closed-end technology investment fund rallied sharply following news that it had purchased 225,000 shares of Facebook at $29.28. The stock finished 42% higher on the day following nearly 12x normal trading volume. This was a great move for the stock, but much more importantly for market watchers, it gave the stock market an opportunity to value Facebook using GSV Capital's price spike as a proxy. Based on this crude approach, the stock market is valuing Facebook at more than $220 billion.
ICAgen Inc (ICGN)
The micro-cap biotech developmental stage company has collaborative research deals with drug giant Pfizer Inc. (PFE). Its ICA-105665 drug is in Phase II clinical trials and another drug in Phase I clinical trials. It gained more than 160% on 36x normal trading volume following an announcement that Pfizer was examining a possible "strategic transaction" with the company.
LDK Solar Co (LDK)
The company rallied nearly 5% on 1.5x normal trading volume. The Chinese solar company announced a $110 million share buyback plan. This is typically bullish for any company because of the positive signaling from management, which presumably knows the company inside out and is optimistic about the stock. For LDK there is an additional leverage to the upside, since the stock has a large short interest. As of June 15, the company had short interest of 35,326,531 shares. This is double the short interest from a year ago.
Sina Corp (SINA)
The company is one of the giants among the giants in Chinese business. It's often referred to as the Twitter of China because of its Weibo microblog service. Investors are becoming more bullish on the company as Weibo looks to expand its operations outside of Sina. Among other things, Sina plans to launch an English version of Weibo in the near future. In addition to having a strong, culturally-specific brand and approach, it also benefits from the structural restraints on international competitors like Twitter.
The stock rallied 6.1% on 1.5x normal trading volume Monday following an analyst upgrade by Goldman Sachs. After peaking around $142.83 in April, the stock traded as low as $77.62 in June. The company is widely held by smart money investors.
YRC Worldwide (YRCW)
This is a great example of the potential divergence between a company and its stock. YRC Worldwide is a Fortune 500 trucking and logistics company with a broad scale and around 32,000 employees. The stock on the other hand is deeply distressed, even after tripling from the 52-week low of $0.55. The company has $4.33 billion in sales but a market capitalization of $75 million because of the excess balance sheet leverage and fiscal obligations.
In what might be a best-case scenario, current equity shareholders could face a heavy dilution if the current reorganization plan is enacted. It would give the current shareholders 2.5% of the equity in the reorganized company. Investors should be cautious because an eventual bankruptcy is still a very real possibility.
The stock spiked 43% on 9x normal trading volume and no headline catalyst. The company's stock has been very volatile of late, but even this magnitude of activity is unusual. The big move could signal pending positive news, but in the meantime, investors should be very cautious. Some smart money owns the stock, but this does not ensure a good outcome for investors.
EXCO Resources (XCO)
The natural gas producer has been the subject of a many-months-long management buyout offer. The company created a special independent committee to solicit outside bids as well as judge the fairness of the CEO-led buyout proposal. In recent months, the stock traded above the $20.50 offer price only to drift lower. Yesterday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that CEO Douglas Miller's buyout team may have to adjust buyout plans following its failure to secure financing, the stock dropped more than 7% on 6x the average trading volume. The management has strong incentives to complete the deal or at least offer a different iteration that would placate shareholders.
The sharp drop in the stock price essentially sent the stock to a price it traded at before the management-led buyout was announced. This may be a bit of an over-reaction, considering that other natural gas companies have rallied since November 2010. Still, the inability to complete what looked like a low-risk buyout may signal a bearish shift in market sentiment.
Additional disclosure: I own XCO shares and could purchase more on stock price weakness.