At the conclusion of each week,we examine 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 positive market action seen during the week of June 4 continued last week as well and the DOW posted another gain of 300-plus points, including a rise of 115 points on Friday that set a positive tone through the markets heading into Sunday's Greek elections. Undoubtedly, the results of those elections will shape the trading action during the upcoming week, too.
Analysts and investors will be looking for stability, not necessarily for which parties are elected into office. Ever since the depths of the economic crisis hit Greece with a storm, the country has been unable to form - and hold - a coalition parliament strong enough to accept or deny any measures put into effect by other members of the European Union (EU) and the eurozone.
Should these elections bear form to a parliament that can actually make a decision - which would require a coalition holding 151 or more of the 300-seat parliament - then that could signal the stability that world investors are looking for, regardless of which parties form the foundation of the coalition.
At least if there is stability, it can be argued, then the markets could more accurately gauge the future actions of the EU and/or IMF and trade accordingly; another indecisive Greek vote that leaves more question marks than answers - meaning a majority coalition is not formed - will leave the country's finances and the fate of the euro in continued limbo, a scenario that will continue to shake the global markets with volatility.
Not to the mention the fact that it will likely lead to a mad scramble to fill Greece's cash coffers, since the country is still set to run out of money by the end of this month. The problem is, no one is any longer willing to throw bailout cash the way of Greece without assurances of austerity - and that brings us back to why Sunday's elections are so important for the world community. We've got to have an idea of what we're working with, regardless of which party takes the helm.
Limbo is the worst place to be, so if you're keeping score at home, it's best to cheer for a decisive victory by somebody, whether it be Antonis Samaras and his traditional New Democracy party - who are expected to undertake the austerity measures imposed by the EU, if elected - or Alexis Tsipras, head of the far-left Syriza party, and his crew, who have campaigned against austerity and are more likely to choose the option of leaving the eurozone and reinstating the drachma as the official currency. That would mean the probable return of cheap vacations to Elafonisi, Hersonissos, and Chania, Crete - and some very cheap Amstel Lights.
Maybe that's just what Greece needs to boost its economy - a return of the tourism rush that existed in droves before the euro came to town and significantly ramped up the costs of vacationing in what should be viewed as a country full of some of the plushest holiday locations in the Med.
Sunday's elections will be key, but let's not also forget that the Spanish banking and Italian debt situations weigh nearly as heavily on the European economy as anything else; it's just that the media picks a topic of the day, floods the market with loads of contradicting headlines, and then moves on to the next topic of the day.
Today's topic of the day is Greece, hence some headlines that read there will be a rally no matter what happens and others that believe the market will collapse no matter the outcome. With all that confusion and contradictory reports, it's no wonder sales of Grey Goose are skyrocketing.
There are other stocks, stories and news items to watch this week - here's just a few of them...
Facebook (FB): A 6% price spike on Friday placed Facebook shares to back over the $30 mark and solidified the company's first weekly gain since its much-hyped IPO last month. FB closed the week just under 11% higher as the company began outlining its defense to multiple lawsuits filed by investors who bought heavily into the hype and ended up deep in the hole when shares dropped to significantly below their IPO price.
The bulk of the lawsuit defense, according to reports issued over the past few days, will stem more around "cascading Nasdaq trading glitches" than it will the fact that many investors believe that the underwriters and insiders might have intentionally milked every last penny they could from the average investor during the IPO. Those underwriters, which include Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM), have all filed a motion requesting that the filed lawsuits be grouped together in Manhattan federal court.
It still stands that a company that bases so much of its reputation on user loyalty cannot afford so much bad press, but a rebounding share price could be an indication that many believe the stain left as a result of the IPO will short-lived and the plans for growth unveiled during the 'road show' leading into the offering will outweigh the temporary negative image.
The fact remains, however, that Facebook still trades at a market cap that can be argued is based more on the remaining hype surrounding the company's name and presence and less on the revenue that is rolling in. That still makes this one a risky proposition moving forward, no matter how much those still involved will attempt to prop the share price up.
Well worth watching, if for popularity's sake alone, but it's likely, in my opinion, that another trip south will materialize, especially if the market as a whole tanks based on news from Europe this week.
Also of note, Facebook's Chief Technology Officer, Bret Taylor, left the company last week and will concentrate future efforts on a yet-to-be-named start-up. While the timing would indicate that Mr. Taylor may be bailing due to the negative press surrounding FB, it's more likely that he's just picking an opportune time to start up his own venture. That said, with the cash and resume that this guy has under his belt - he also co-founded Google Maps (GOOG), his next venture ought to include a life-long beach vacation.
Eyes will be heavily on Facebook this week as investors gauge whether or not last week's run was for real or just a temporary bounce before the stock dips again.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Shares of Johnson & Johnson spiked back to the sixty six dollar mark during Friday's market run after three analysts upgraded the company's shares earlier in the week on the announcement that the U.S. regulators had approved JNJ's purchase of Swiss device maker Synthes.
JPMorgan slapped a price tag of $74 bucks on JNJ, along with an upgrade to 'neutral', while Raymond James and Jefferies each issued upgrades of their own.
Regarding the purchase of Synthes, JNJ noted that the deal will positively effect earnings a lot sooner than originally anticipated.
The company made additional news last week by announcing that it would seek broadened regulatory approval in the US and Europe for its prostate cancer pill, Zytiga. The expanded approval, should JNJ receive it, would include treatment in men who have not yet received chemotherapy.
Given the positive developments surrounding JNJ last week, and the possibility that a move to the seventy dollar level is in the works, this will be one to keep an eye on again.
Dendreon Corp (DNDN): What is good news for JNJ could come as another hindrance for Dendreon and its own prostate cancer treatment, Provenge. Once hailed as the usher for the next generation of prostate cancer treatment - and the cancer immunotherapy market as a whole - Provenge has suffered from a slow ramp-up of sales, due mainly to the high cost of treatment and concerns of reimbursement expressed by both Doctors and patients.
Growing competition also dimmed the company's once-promising hopes, as treatments such as Zytiga quickly gained market attention and again threatened the long-term vitality of Provenge.
Shares were running last week, however, after rumors of a potential buyout circulated and Summer Street Research initiated coverage of DNDN with a 'buy' rating. That rating also came with a lofty price target of $18, well over the current price range of the high seven dollars - prices only reached because of a nice rumor-fueled run last week.
Heavy volume added to Dendreon's price run. Following that run, investors will be paying attention this week to see if there is any potential truth to the return of a nearly $20 share price, as is predicted by Summer Street.
Give the fact that many investors held through the post-approval highs, and that many more bought in at much higher levels, there will likely be little support for any buyout at prices anywhere below the mid-teens. If DNDN is going to rebound, it's apparent that it will have to do so on its own merit - and that means a significant boost in Provenge sales.
Implant Sciences (OTC:IMSC): Shares of Implant Sciences traded with some noticeably higher volume on several days last week and with price volatility that indicates investors may be starting to notice the huge potential of this company. With a cutting-edge explosive and narcotics-detecting technology, Implant could soon set the standard for airport, air cargo and homeland security worldwide.
The first key date that investors are watching is in late August, when the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will issue an approval decision on Implant's Quantum Sniffer (QS) technology - a decision that could launch the company to the forefront of explosive trace detection services as public U.S. entities will be open to purchase QS products en masse, following an approval. Notably, many countries who follow the guidelines of the U.S. TSA will also be enabled to purchase the technology as a result of the decision.
Given the scope and potential impact of the TSA's pending decision, it's easy to compare such an event for Implant to that of an FDA approval for a small biotech company.
Another key date to watch is 3 December, 2012. By that date the TSA has mandated that ALL air cargo on passenger airliners will be screened for explosives - no small order, given that it is assumed only 10% of such cargo is screened now.
The demand for Implant's technology is huge now, evidenced by the numerous orders from around the globe this year, and could grow significantly in the near future as a result of the TSA mandate and measures being taken by other countries to secure borders, buildings, cities, infrastructure and airplanes.
Implant also has some key advantages over the competition that make its products a perfect fit for the high-throughput demands that are being put into effect to secure airliners.
Just a few months ago the IMSC share price was in the fifty-cent range. Since then, increasing volume has moved shares significantly higher, culminated by a move to well over a dollar in early May. Should the aforementioned pending catalysts turn out in favor of Implant, then these prices would likely be looked back at as quite the bargain - as the ground floor to a potentially groundbreaking technology that could help secure the homeland, while also fluffing investors' wallets.
Keep the late August date in mind. Common sense would indicate that some entities may be ready to pull the trigger on Quantum Sniffer purchases, but are just awaiting the official decision of the TSA before doing so. In the meantime, the international growth seen this year is also encouraging.
Still one to watch for the coming week, and for the duration of the summer leading into August.
Celsius Holdings (OTC:CELH): Trading volume might be growing for Implant Sciences quite a bit this year, but Celsius HoldinGs is still trading light, aside from a few nice spurts at points during the early months of 2012.
Celsius makes and markets multiple calorie-burning beverages, both carbonated and non-carbonated, and has also made a marketing push with its 'on the go' powdered packets that retain the same qualities of the beverage when added to water. A 30 serving canister of powder is also now on sale at the company's website.
After a volatile couple of years in terms of sales and share price, this company has registered renewed earnings stability over the past few quarters and could be re-built enough to warrant consideration as another potential growth and/or rebound story.
A new PR firm was announced earlier this year and the Celsius products look to have found a nice niche in the pre-workout and healthy beverage markets. While the company has been relatively silent for the better part of a year now - aside from the announcement of a new PR firm - the Celsius share price has inched a little higher, although the volume is far from significant enough just yet to call it a trend.
Last week was a consistent week, if nothing else, with shares closing at either thirty five or thirty seven cents on each trading day, and although the price movement is not yet exciting again, it's worth keeping this one on the radar.
It could be argued that the Celsius products are comparable, if not superior, to those offered by Monster Beverage Corp (MNST), but as of yet Celsius has failed to make a dent into Monster's foothold on the energy drink market. Progress looks to have been made, however, in the pre-workout beverage arena. Worth keeping an eye on. All this one needs is a catalyst, whether it be earnings or publicity.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI): Shares of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals enjoyed a solid week after a Friday spike of nearly 4% solidified gains of roughly a buck for the five day period. This company has been a big-time winner over the past year or so. Spectrum has posted gains in revenue that were initially doubted by many who invest in the sector that thought generic competition would put a stop to Spectrum's soaring FUSILEV sales, and has also seen its share price inch higher month after month amid growing short interest.
It is just that short interest, however, that makes Spectrum such an intriguing play right now.
With a short percentage of just under 50% of the float - that's right, just under 50% of the float - this one is either going to squeeze or its going to crash, and whatever it does, it's probably going to happen soon.
The most logical reasoning behind this huge short number has to be that many still believe FUSILEV sales are going to get hammered by the generic competition, levoleucovorin. It's been a year now since manufacturing issues hampered the generic production and allowed FUSILEV sales to grow so strongly, but the shorts must believe that this trend is coming to an end - and soon.
The longs, however, will point to the fact that FUSILEV has built a solid foundation of believers, who will not switch medications even when the generic is back on the market. They'll also point to the fact that the impressive pipeline results recently presented at ASCO build a solid foundation for the future.
Regardless of who turns out to be right, the short-term trading could prove to be very volatile. If the broad market crashes as a result of news from Europe, then it should be a no-brainer that the shorts win this one - at least for now. Even if the market doesn't tank, it's still going to be a battle to see the longs fight through such heavy short interest, unless Spectrum has a catalyst under its sleeve.
If a short squeeze does materialize, however, it could turn into the mother of all short squeezes. It's not every day that you see this much short interest.
Invested or not, SPPI needs to be on the biotech investor's radar screen this week, because things could get exciting.
Also worth watching...
Siga Technologies (SIGA): SIGA shares enjoyed a modest rebound last week after the company announced that it would appeal the decision of a Delaware court that ruled in favor of rival PharmAthene (PIP) in litigation over a proposed partnership agreement years ago that never materialized. Siga had previously asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, but when the decision came back unchanged, the company quickly appealed.
SIGA shares are currently trading well below the full valuation of an already-awarded BARDA contract that will fill the U.S. biodefense stockpiles with Siga's smallpox antiviral ST-246, but the market cap valuation also takes into consideration that the judge has awarded PIP 50% of all ST-246 profits, bar the first forty million.
Although the uncertainly surrounding the ongoing legal action has scared away many an investor, the long-term potential of this company and its technology is still in check.
Capstone Turbine (CPST): Capstone Turbine reported fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012 earnings last week, and although the company again reported record revenue and backlog, another miss in the 'earnings per share' column kept shares from capitalizing on the revenue growth.
Aside from the boost in revenue, orders and backlog, Capstone reported another number that is encouraging for those predicting revenue growth. According to statements made by President and Chief Executive Officer, Darren R. Jamison, during the earnings call, Capstone "delivered positive gross margins of 5% for fiscal 2012, up 6 percentage points over fiscal 2011 and up 19 percentage points over fiscal 2010."
The trend towards profitability is certainly there in many aspects, but for now this company has yet to turn the corner in the eyes of investors.
Still worth watching as a green growth play while trading for right around a buck and historically it hasn't been a bad idea picking up a few shares at these levels. For the time being, however, it's tough to count on CPST sustaining any gains until profitability is met.
Encouraging trends continue. Stay tuned.
Titan Pharmaceuticals (OTC:TTNP): News flow from this company has been non-existent recently, but the potential of Probuphine and the ProNeura technology is still there. Could be worth the add at current levels. Many investors, however, have grown impatient with the wait and the silence and likely bailed.
Mannkind Corp (MNKD): A 7% up volume spike on Friday has Mannkind shares pushing two bucks again. Still a while to go before Afrezza is back in the spotlight, but the mid- to long-term could turn out rewarding with a few shares picked up at the sub-$2 levels.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX): An FDA advisory committee will issue an opinion this week regarding Onyx's multiple myeloma drug, carfilzomib. General sentiment is mixed as to how the committee will rule, but a positive opinion could lead to a nice spike in share price as confidence in an ultimate approval will be strengthened.
Should be another exciting week. Happy Trading!!!
Disclosure: Long IMSC, SIGA, CPST, TTNP, MNKD, CELH.