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Mid-Afternoon Market Update: U.S. Stocks Turn Red; Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Shares Climb Following Clinical Study Update

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: U.S. Stocks Turn Red; Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Shares Climb Following Clinical Study Update

Toward the end of trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 0.20 percent to 17,947.63 while the NASDAQ slipped 0.10 percent to 4,772.89. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.27 percent to 2,074.82.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

In trading on Wednesday, healthcare shares were relative leaders, up on the day by about 0.28 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Cytokinetics, Incorporated (NASDAQ: CYTK), up 15.3 percent, and Harvard Bioscience Inc. (NASDAQ: HBIO), up 9 percent.

Utilities shares slipped around 0.46 percent in Wednesday’s trading. Meanwhile, top decliners in the sector included Pure Cycle Corporation (NASDAQ: PCYO), down 7.2 percent, and Atlantic Power Corporation (NYSE: AT), off 2.8 percent.

Top Headline

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) reported that it has entered into a merger agreement Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings, Inc. (OTC: AVRW).

Pacific Ethanol will acquire all of Aventine's outstanding shares in a stock-for-stock merger deal. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

Equities Trading UP

NephroGenex, Inc. (NASDAQ: NRX) shares shot up 192.04 percent to $13.58 after the company reported positive results for QT study of Pyridorin.

Shares of Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc. (NYSE: MIG) got a boost, shooting up 18.79 percent to $8.47 after the company agreed to be acquired by Fosun International Limited (OTC: FOSUF) for $8.65 per share in cash.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp (NASDAQ: TKMR) shares were also up, gaining 13.02 percent to $15.71 after the company provided an update on its TKM-PLK1 Phase I/II clinical study.

Equities Trading DOWN

Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE: ANR) shares tumbled 6.70 percent to $1.67. Crude oil futures fell 2.25% to trade at $52.90 a barrel.

Shares of Organovo Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ONVO) were down 6.01 percent to $7.20 after the company announced a $33 million controlled equity offering.

Accretive Health, Inc. (OTC: ACHI) was down, falling 28.02 percent to $6.55. The company completed the reinstatement of its financial results and provided an update on operations.


In commodity news, oil traded down 2.05 percent to $53.01, while gold traded down 1.46 percent to $1,182.90.

Silver traded down 4.31 percent Wednesday to $15.58, while copper fell 1.10 percent to $2.82.


European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 rose 0.45 percent, while the Spanish Ibex Index gained 0.01 percent. The French CAC 40 climbed 0.64 percent, while UK shares gained 0.29 percent.


U.S. jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 298,000 in the week ended December 27, versus a revised 281,000 in the previous week. However, economists were projecting claims to reach 290,000 in the week.

The Chicago PMI fell to 58.30 in December, versus a prior reading of 60.80. However, economists were expecting a reading of 60.00.

The pending home sales index gained 0.8% to 104.8 in November, from 104 in October.

U.S. crude oil inventories slipped by 1.8 million barrels to 385.5 million barrels in the week ended December 26, the Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were estimating a drop of 1.25 million barrels.


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