Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

Banner (BANR), Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR) Rise on Sector Strength, Books-A-Million (BAMM) Gains on Strong Earnings

|Includes: BAMM, Banner Corporation (BANR), OSIR

Banner (NASDAQ:BANR) and Osiris Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OSIR) rise as their sectors gain strength and Books-A-Million (NASDAQ:BAMM) gains on strong second quarter earnings.

Banner Corp., (BANR) jumped this morning on a stronger housing market and Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR) shares gained as the Stem Cell sector continued its' upward trend while Books-A-Million (BAMM) surprised many retail analysts with strong second quarter 2009 earnings released late Friday.

Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 all posted at least a 0.6% gain this morning and Wall Street followed the move. Wall Street is still reeling from the better-than-expected increase of 7.2% July existing home sales figures released last week.

All boats rise with the tide...

Gaining over 22.91% ($0.74) in early trading this morning, Banner Corp., (BANR) http://www.banrbank.com/ shares set a new market cap of $73 million. BANR is currently trading in the $3.92 range. BANR has a 3-Month average daily trading volume of 174,948 shares and easily surpassed that by 100,000 shares by mid-session.

BANR reported on July 29 that the Company had a net loss of $16.5 million for Q2 2009 compared to a net loss of $52.3 million for Q2 2008. Much, much better, but still a loss. BANR is heavily involved with the loan market and its Q2 losses reflected the difficulty of having so many non-performing loans and net charge-offs on its books. BANR has a specialty product loan for the construction of one-to-four family homes and for acquisition and development of land for residential properties.

Financing new home construction isn't easy, but BANR has a Great Northwest Home Rush promotion which initially started in the Portland, Oregon area and expanded to the Seattle, Washington area and a stronger housing market (either in existing or new home sales) will only strengthen BANR. As of July, builders had accepted purchase offers on 299 of the 617 homes listed under the program, with 173 of those sales having closed through June 30, 2009.

BANR is well-positioned. As the market flattens out, cuts its losses and credit creeps back into private borrowing, related housing sectors will rise and take BANR along with them. The nightmarish 'prime' loan foreclosure numbers are coming in now and they are ugly, but the 're-set' crisis is looking like its being better handled these days and companies like BANR that also engage in mortgage banking, real estate loans, agricultural business loans, construction and land development loans will bring value back to shareholders over time.

BANR has 83 branch offices and 10 loan production offices located in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

At $3.92, BANR investors understand valuation. BANR has a 52-week high of $21.14 set on 09-18-08 and a 52-week low of $1.81 set on 03-09-09. At $3.92, BANR is ahead of its 50-day moving average and pennies below its 200-day moving average. BANR has trailing twelve month revenues of $82 million. BANR is widely held by institutions. Its shares out versus float ratio is near-parity.

Also rising with the tide in another sector...

Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR) http://www.osiristx.com/ gained 11.27% ($1.38) in early trading as the Stem Cell sector contains to gain ground. OSIR is currently in the $13.63 range with a market cap of $446 million. OSIR has a 3-Month average daily trading volume of 189,089 shares and topped 485,470 shares in early trading today.

Some Stem Cell Stock Indices climbed by 20% or more in August and even though OSIR didn't generate huge revenues in its August 6 release of Q2 09 numbers, it did report some very impressive facts: OSIR treated its first patient in a Prochymal Phase II trial for patients experiencing a heart attack and the Company submitted the first portions of the Prochymal Biological License Application to the FDA. OSIR, working with the FDA, expanded the Phase II type 1 diabetes trial to include pediatric patients.

OSIR did bring in some money, the Company received $55.0 million from the balance of a license fee, it received a $12.5 million installment payment from NuVasive related to the sale of Osteocel and OSIR received continued support from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

On August 4, OSIR announced the creation of a new Biosurgery Division (called the XC Project) that will be focused on developing and marketing high-end biological products for use in surgical procedures. OSIR is working with the FDA on this as well.

At $13.63, OSIR is below its 52-week high of $21.65 set on 12-02-08 and above its 52-week low of $10.80 set on 10-24-08. At $13.63, OSIR is above its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average. While OSIR has a slight $30 million in trailing twelve month revenues, it did have a trailing twelve month diluted EPS of $0.08. OSIR is widely held by insiders and I would like to see more shares in the public float for stability.

And now for something completely different...

Gaining 13.89% ($0.62), Books-A-Million (BAMM) http://www.booksamillion.com/ shares rose as high as $13 in early trading today. BAMM reported it doubled its Q2 earnings before the weekend. BAMM set a new market cap today of $207 million. Its 3-Month average daily trading volume is 89,652 shares and it surpassed 130,307 shares traded by mid-session today.

BAMM Q2 2009 earnings were $1.5 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with $645,000, or 4 cents per share, a year ago. Considering BAMM is a retailer and the severity of the recession; very impressive. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, fell 4.9 percent in the quarter. Q2 sales overall dropped a fraction of a percent to $122.4 million, compared to $123.3 million in Q2 of 2008.

BAMM then announced a quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 17 to stockholders as of Sept. 3.

BAMM operates the southeastern United States. BAMM has 200 superstores and 20 traditional stores. The bookseller was founded in 1917 and is based in Birmingham, Alabama.

At $13, BAMM is a dollar above its previous 52-week high of $12 set on 07-28-09 and far above its 52-week low of $1.70 set on 11-20-08. At $13, BAMM is above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. BAMM has trailing twelve month revenues of $515 million and a trailing twelve month diluted EPS of $0.75. BAMM is widely held by insiders. Its shares outstanding are in the 15 million range and the float reported at various sites is too disparate too say, but equivalence in shares out and the public float always indicates trading stability.

Sign-up for Free to Receive Future Commentary and Trading Alerts on BANR, OSIR and BAMM