Market Overview

Oink Oink: Profit From The Return Of Swine Flu


Believe it or not, the H1N1 virus, more commonly known as the swine flu, is back. The disease that killed more than 17,000 around the world between 2009 and mid-2010, according to NBC, has been found in patients living in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Maine, and Indiana.

The Center for Disease Control reports there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission at this point, but cautioned "it's possible that this virus may become widespread."

Let's hope that's not the case and the folks that are being treated for swine flu now beat it and end up healthy. For your inner capitalist, there are ways to profit from a re-emerging swine flu problem and some of the names may be familiar from the 2009-2010 epidemic.

Novavax (Nasdaq: NVAX) Novavax was arguably THE swine flu stock back in 2009 and 2010. In the summer of 2009 when swine flu was splashed across newspapers and TV news shows everyday, Novavax was flirting with $7 a share. The good times didn't last long as the stock was cut in half by September 2009 and today trades below $1.50. Speaking of today, Novavax is up almost 4% on volume that is nearly triple the daily average. Hey, for $1.38 (as of this writing) Novavax might be worth a quick spin on the swine flu news. Like many biotech stocks with small market caps, Novavax is highly speculative.

Hemispherx Biopharma (AMEX: HEB) Another speculative name, Hemispherx Biopharma has a market cap of less than $33 million, so don't go telling your grandma to buy this stock. Well, at 24 cents a share, she can probably afford to play this name. Remember this about Hemispherx from back in July 2009, the height of the swine flu concerns, during two days in the week of July 20, Hemispherx was the biggest gainer on the American Stock Exchange; the next day it was the biggest loser, according to Investopedia,

The company is currently working on a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and that's probably the bigger story with the stock than the swine flu, but at penny stock prices, Hemispherx could be worth a short-term trade if more cases of the disease are reported in the coming days.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BCRX) Once again, we're going back to a stock that briefly surged in 2009 thanks to the swine flu outbreak. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals is a shell of its former itself, in least in terms of share price. In August 2009, the stock flirted with $13. Today, it flirts with $3. That said, traders might be remember BioCryst Pharmaceuticals as a swine flu play because as of this writing the stock is up almost 13% on more than quadruple the average daily volume.

Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN) By far the largest member of our list, Dendreon was also a swine flu back in the day as the company was working on a vaccine to treat the disease. These days, for better or worse there's much more to the Dendreon story.

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