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  • Galectin Therapeutics Releases Promising Results

    After listening to the conference call about the Galectin Therapeutics (GALT) cohort study for the GR-MD-02 drug and the Q&A session that followed , I have to say I am very excited about what this company has accomplished. While I could write a long article regurgitating all of the specifics of this scientific study (link to full study at end of article), I would like to concentrate on a few key statements made on the call.

    The main summary of the results was state by Dr. Peter G. Traber of GALT: "In addition to being safe and well tolerated, GR-MD-02 improved biomarkers of fibrosis, inflammation and liver cell injury in patients with NASH and advanced fibrosis."

    A question was asked to clarify what some of the improved biomarkers means, and Dr. Peter G. Traber, the CEO, stated: "Changes in inflammatory cell death and fibrosis markers suggest that there is an effect on each of the pathological processes in NASH."

    While Dr. Traber was being very conservative on this call, the results speak very loudly for a drug with the potential to help millions upon millions of people with NASH. While that statement adds additional confidence that GALT has discovered an effective treatment for NASH, if you listen all the way to the end of the conference call, Dr. Traber makes a closing statement that is even more exciting.

    Closing Statement: "When you see disease biomarker changes; it is somewhat unusual to see in the first dose of a clinical trial, phase 1 clinical trial, when you see multiple markers all going in the same direction: fibrosis, inflammation, cell death markers, it adds additional confidence to the fact that we are seeing a biological effect."..."It gives one confidence that the drug is having a biological activity in diseased patients and gives one confidence for going forward in development" "That's why I say the results exceeded expectations"

    While it is completely true that this was a small study, and larger numbers of patients and the Phase 2 trials (Dr. Traber stated Phase 2 possibly starts before end of the year) will determine the final results; these results are extremely exciting for this phase of study.

    The full results of the cohort study can be read Here.

    Disclosure: I am long GALT. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Tags: GALT, long-ideas
    Apr 02 8:21 AM | Link | 1 Comment
  • BP: A Long idea now that the Oil Crisis is Over
    The oil crisis is over.  A crisis that captured the attention of all of America and the world for weeks has now fizzled into oblivion.  BP's stock (NYSE:BP) on the other hand is still licking it's wounds.  While licking it's wounds, the stock has also been on a stealth road to recovery just like the oil crisis itself.

    If you look at the range the stock was trading at before the crisis, BP is still missing almost $60 billion of market capitalization.  Now that the crisis is over and the liabilities are being tallied, I will tell you why our research indicates that this may be a medium to long term investor opportunity to buy a great company.

    First of all, the leak was a very difficult problem to solve, and they solved it.  Yes, it took longer than all of us non-experts wanted, but, it did get solved.  They stopped the leak.  I travelled down to the Louisiana Gulf region a couple of weeks after the leak was stopped and ventured out into the marsh and gulf of mexico.  Guess what was missing?  Oil.  There was no oil in the water.  There was no oil on the beach.  I saw porpoises and pelicans frolicking in the water.  What was missing that day was speckled trout, we got skunked on our fishing trip.

    Fishing problems aside, an insider at one of the leading insurance services companies processing claims for BP says he is getting more possible fraud than legitimate claims and legitimate claims are trailing off big time.  It seems the damage is not as severe as everyone assumed.  In addition, I had conversations with many of the restaurants, bait shops, and hotels and they all said the same thing.  They are suffering not because they ever saw one blob of oil, but because the media panicked everyone.  Good job media.

    My opinion is that BP has gone above and beyond the call of duty helping the people that were impacted by the oil leak.  Now, it is time to get back to work.  Time to put this behind us.  We think that it is just a matter of time before the stock does the same thing.

    Technically, after forming a V shaped bottom in late June/ early July, BP has been in a steady uptrend with only one significant pullback.  Since August, BP has been steadily bouncing off its moving average (many periods) with a slow but steady uptrend.  While this has been true of the general market also, this is only one of a few metrics that show why this may be a great long opportunity.

    Finally, when BP gets through with it's drilling contractors and other oil service's firms that share liability in this accident, the stock might just correct up as quickly as it corrected down.  Combine that with a perfect storm of high demand and high oil prices and we think this may be a great long opportunity.  We also expect BP to announce the return of their dividend at some point, maybe quicker than everyone expects.

    Click Here for Interactive BP Chart.

    52 wk Low 26.75
    52 wk High 62.38
    Price/Book 1.52
    Market Cap 136.66B

    Disclosure: Long BP
    Tags: BP, BP, Oil, Energy
    Nov 11 3:33 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Are Bank of America's New Policies Supporting the Growth of Online Banking?
    Although it has been quietly happening in other institutions for the past several months, Bank of America has finally chosen to announce that time has run out for the small banking customer. By early 2011, the free checking account structure and possibly the deposit account programs will be revamped to include a basic monthly charge. Proponents indicate that this will be a tiered approach in which fees can be avoided by keeping minimum levels in accounts, using credit cards, or investing through the bank.

    Not everyone is complaining. Online banking organizations such as ING DIRECT and HSBC Advance may have just won the lottery. These groups brag about their lack of fees and required minimums as well as the easy online service that is available 24/7. They also offer higher interest rates that are very appealing. Since the concept of doing one’s banking business by computer might seem a little unsettling to the uninitiated, the idea has been a little slow to catch on. Now that BofA has warned of the inevitable need for a significant monthly fee, the future of alternative banking may have taken a giant leap.

    Bank of America and other similar banking institutions have been stung by the July restrictions placed on overdraft charges and credit card fees. It has been estimated that as BofA responds to these new regulations by phasing out its checking overdraft program, the lost revenue may exceed $600 million. Overall, banks are whining that billions of dollars in easy money could be lost from these handy little fees and charges they have been ruthlessly slapping on the struggling consumer.

    And the painful end may not be in sight quite yet. An amendment attached to the Senate version of the industry overhaul bill would curtail the fees that banks could charge businesses for credit card transactions. Ouch! More lost revenue!

    In an effort to ward off their certain demise, the banks have been taking a serious look at the “freeloaders” in their system, those low income customers whose accounts cost more to maintain than to profit by. It has been suggested that as much as 50% of all checking accounts fall into this category, and each one of those costs $250-$300 a year to process and maintain. Off with their heads! Or at least let them start paying for services.

    While cloaked in language that blatantly claims these new bank changes are strictly aimed at building deeper relationships within the customer base, one has to think it’s just about recovering lost revenue. Or is it really about greed? Bank of America’s 3rd quarter profit came in at 27 cents, 9 cents above predictions. Not too shabby for an institution that’s crying poverty.

    When all is said and done, it appears that the lower income, average banking customer is being shown the door. Are today’s banks becoming another exclusive playground for the rich and powerful? Perhaps online banking will become the popular alternative. Maybe we should be considering buying stock in these new venues. They may be about to go golden.

    Check out HSBC's (HBC) chart of the past five days.  We will be watching it for the next few weeks:
    online trading

    Disclosure: No Positions
    Tags: HSBC
    Oct 19 5:14 PM | Link | Comment!
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