Bullish. On the 24th May, the preliminary results of a study by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sent Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INO) stocks up 26%. The volume had also considerably increased. Over 13.3 million shares had already changed hands by 15:32 BST. Less than 800,000 of Inovio’s shares are traded on a normal day. The pharmaceutical company announced that its HIV vaccine (PENNVAX-GP) produced some of the highest ever levels of immune response rates demonstrated by an HIV vaccine in a human study. The news followed Inovio’s positive results on Ebola, Zika and MERS clinical trials. Furthermore, the newer and more tolerable intradermal vaccine delivery device showed that we can elicit very high immune responses at a much lower dose, said Dr. J. Joseph Kim. “We look forward to advancing PENNVAX-GP into later-stage clinical development with our partners and collaborators”, he added.
Bullish. From $753.22 on the 14th November 2016 to $955.09 on the 24th May 2017, Alphabet (GOOG) shares have increased at an impressive rate of 26.8%. Even if the P/E Ratio tends to be a simplistic metric, it offers an insight of what investors think a company should be trading at. Based on it, Alphabet, whose stock currently trades around 32 times to earnings, is undervalued. In the industry, the P/E Ratio averages at 37. Alphabet stock’s price has been benefiting from product innovations and expansion in new markets leading to a massive growth in its revenues and earnings in the first quarter of 2017. The operating income and the advertising revenue have also increased 23% to $6.57bn and 18% to $21bn, respectively. Combined with progresses in mobile search and the expected success of Programmatic Advertising, Alphabet’s shares could hit $1000 in the near future.
Bearish. It has been a difficult year for US energy companies, which were some of the worst performers of the stock market index S&P500. Fuel demand has now strengthened and OPEC members have successfully curbed the production. As a result, crude prices recovered from a 13-year low, and stabilized above $50. This price should allow oil and gas producers and refiners to pay debts and avoid default but not to bolster profits and pay out dividends to shareholders. However, last year, ExxonMobil and Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger and Phillips 66 returned more than $25bn to shareholders in dividends. Maintaining dividends has obviously weighed on share prices. Schlumberger has fallen 15%, Chevron is down 10%, Phillips 66 and ExxonMobil’s stocks decreased by 9% this year. Moreover, the credit rating provider S&P Global might downgrade ExxonMobil (XOM) double-A plus rating over the next two years. It has already cut its outlook on the US company to negative. ExxonMobil’s debt went from $29.1bn at the end of 2014 to $43.6bn at the end of March 2017. The oil producer slashed capital spending and became more efficient, but according to S&P Global “it continued to grow dividends, leading to large discretionary cash flow deficits, and an uptick in debt”.
Bearish. Following an internal investigation into the sales practices of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN), prompted by a former employee, CFO Anderson and three other executives are leaving the pharmaceutical company. Ludwig Hantson, the new CEO, is reshaping the top ranks of the organization. The changes do not guarantee longer-term strategy, but the uncertainty may add volatility for the company’s shares. They fell from $115.42 on the 22nd May to $101.08 on the 24th May 2017, after a 35.9% decrease in 2016. Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ flagship treatment, Soliris, only relates to a really small number of patients with specific rare blood-based disorders. Nonetheless, a slight increase in patients, with a price above $500,000 per patient per year, would be enough to boost the company’s sales. Targeting patients with refractory generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) could lift Soliris sales from $2.59bn in 2015 to around $5.5bn by 2022. However, the drug failed to demonstrate a significant benefit in a clinical trial with gMG patients. Unfortunately, a failure to prevent complications following kidney transplants came after and did not reassure investors. Did Alexion Pharmaceuticals miss the boast?