(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 20, 2012 ) -- New York, NY -- The new week started off with a bang.
Tim Tebow's era looks to be coming to an end in Denver as Peyton Manning reportedly picked the Mile High City as his new home, but I still thought Peyton would have been better off backing up his kid brother in New York - better known as "ELI, the Two-Time Super Bowl Champ."
Speaking of New York, the owners of the New York Mets have settled with a trustee for Bernie Maddoff's victims in a case of alleged "willful blindness". For just $162 million - or $60 million more than what Jose Reyes would have cost for six or so years - the Wilpons can wipe their hands of the Madoff spectacle and get back to destroying National League Baseball in NYC.
Glad the Wilpons can now breathe easy. Maybe the fans should have a case of "willful blindness" when the Mets attempt to field a team this year. Funny enough, the last spring outing by Mike Pelfrey makes that idea an easy play.
In the world of the markets and finance, Apple Ince. (AAPL) stole all the headlines on Monday with the announcement of a huge dividend and a ten billion dollar share buyback; and there's some analysts out there that believe this company is only in the early stages of growth.
Talk about a juggernaut. As if a hundred dollare per share price increase this year already wasn't enough.
Aside from Apple, there were a few other hot moving stocks and stories in the markets on Monday that are worth mentioning.
Here's just a few of them...
Ampio Pharmaceuticals (AMPE): After opening the new week with a boom, shares of Ampio Pharmaceuticals continued to move higher throughout the day on Monday, touching highs of over 60% the previous close before settling down into the close.
The run started when the company announced positive interim results from an Optina trial that were strong enough to justify halting the trial early in order to prepare for a pivotal trial that is the next step in attempting to have the drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).
Optina for DME is a repositioned indication for the already-approved Danazol, which has been on the market for decades, and therefore has an established safety profile that could be used to support the New Drug Application (NDA) with the FDA, should efficacy hold up in the pivotal trial.
Monday's price surge came on huge volume, with over three million shares trading hands - the daily average is just over 100,000.
Agenus, Inc. (AGEN): Agenus, Inc. (AGEN) continued its impressive run on Monday, trading higher by another thirteen percent, easily making this one well more than a double from where shares opened the new year. The move started, as we remember, when an expanded agreement with partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) revolving around AGEN's vaccine adjuvant QS-21 Stimulon was announced a couple of weeks ago.
The announcement sparked some buyout rumors, especially given the fact that GSK was granted a 'first right of refusal' for Agenus and any of its properties, should they go up on the buying block.
Be wary, however, and note that these price runs tend to only last so long without being backed by news. The speculation of a GSK buyout is an appetizing thought for investors, but it would have made more sense to get it done before, rather than announce the deal and let the price run. It's likely that any deal would take place on the back end of Agenus announcing results from the Phase II Prophage trial in glioma, when the company's potential could be more fairly valued.
Additionally, the prospects of a paycheck from QS-21 royalties will not be able to sustain this price run in itself.
It's good to see Agenus back in the game again, and the company still holds a great amount of potential for the future, as is evidenced by the GSK partnership; but in today's volatile markets it's also wise for investors to take advantage of swinging prices when they can, because you know the traders are going to.
AGEN slammed through the six dollar barrier into the close on Monday as volume breached a million shares. Some will view that as a sign of more to come and a potential news release, but others may believe the soon-to-be-shorts were propping the price up a little higher to put some downward pressure on the stock later in the week.
You can't help but watch this one.
Celsius Holdings (CELH): Celsius Holdings (CELH) didn't return much in terms of gains on Monday, but volume was significantly higher for the third consecutive trading session. The volume jump may be related to the hiring of a new public relations firm that could be an indication that a new PR push is in the works, which could lead to increased exposure for the very lightly traded Celsius stock.
The Celsius calorie burning drink, powdered packets and energy shots may have found a home in the pre-workout, functional beverage market, and the foundations may be in place to warrant another publicity push.
It's an observed rule of thumb in the markets that volume precedes price, so believers of that theory may start taking notice of CELH - if the recent string of up-volume holds up for a bit longer.
Human Genome Sciences (HGSI): Another company caught up in perpetual buyout talks with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Human Genome jumped above eight dollars again on Monday, a modest three percent-plus price increase, with no news to support the move. Investors are waiting for either the Glaxo buyout talk to materialize or for Benlysta sales to start picking up steam and head towards the blockbuster status that many predicted for it as the first FDA-approved treatment for lupus in over fifty years.
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX): Shares of KERX traded higher for most of the day on Monday, following a late-week surge going into last Friday's trading session. Keryx and AEterna Zentaris (AEZS), from whom KERX licensed the cancer treatment Perifisone, have been gaining increasing attention leading into the wrapping-up of the Phase III Perifisone trial and expected results release.
Opinions are varied on the probability of a Perifisone success, as a couple of high profile investing opinion websites have publicly battled their opposing view points.