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Monday, August 31, 2009

Readers' Picks: ANX, FRM, FNE, SPNG, EPCT

In response to a number of requests that I've received via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found, I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone takes a few things into account while reading:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

optionsXpress

ANX: AdventRX Pharmaceuticals:

A comment from Lenny is sunny Australia:

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend! Melbourne Australia is a lovely place, and considering it is middle of winter yet has temperatures of around 50-60 Fahrenheit, who can complain? While having a drink I made a toast to your health! (-:

If you get a chance, can you please have a look at ANX? It has a market cap under 20 million with no debt, appears to be 'under the radar', and has an interesting product (it does not appear to be a '1 trick pony'). It is a product reformulation (which may reduce its risk?) and looks to have benefits over what is being currently used in chemo.

Let us know when you get a chance.

Tks!

Lenny


Thanks for the toast, Lenny. Much appreciated. I've never hit Melbourne myself and you can't complain about whether like that in the "middle of winter!" Enjoy!

VFC's Take: About a month ago I responded to another inquiry regarding ANX and I will maintain my stance that it is a decent speculative buy for the reasons listed above by Lenny. I do believe that the company is still trading somewhat 'below the radar,' but also note the increasing volume of late.

The time for getting in may be slowly disappearing as the stock has risen to twenty cents from fourteen cents in just over a few weeks. It should go higher as the date for the NDA submission for ANX-530, scheduled to take place by the end of this year, approaches.

However, with ANX-530 being a reformulation of an existing product, I'd be a bit weary of long term viability unless it brings something significantly new to the table. That being said, the market cap is fairly small, in my opinion, and could at least double leading into the NDA filing.

Personally, I'd treat this stock as a mid term trade vice a long term hold - for now; definitely worth buying a few shares and seeing what happens, in my opinion.

Disclosure: VFC is long ANX.



SPNG, FNE, FRE:

From Pixie:

Woo hoo, go SPNG! Suddenly I realize SPNG is everywhere. I caught their ads on WETA Kids, Nickelodeon and CNBC recently. Ever since she saw the ad, my daughter's been pestering me to buy this cool Spongebob sponge. Should I be the frugal mom or help the stock by shelling out 14 bucks? LOL.

What's your take on FNM and FRE, both of which rebounded some, though nothing on the lines of AIG...

Thanks much!
Pixie


VFC's Take: Regarding SPNG, the company is going all out on the marketing front. Quite simply - the marketing will translate into nice sales numbers and handsomely reward shareholders or it will fruitlessly eat into existing cash and burn the company into the ground if the full fledged marketing attack does not translate into revenue.

Keep in mind that if the current marketing blitz does NOT translate into big sales, then a reverse split may be in order. If that occurs, I'd add shares on any dip post-split.

For the time being, I can support an argument for continued buying at twenty cents.

FNM, FRE: An eventual rebound is likely from both, but these companies are extreme messes and too closely associated with the federal government for me to feel comfortable putting my money in there.

Rebound stories are everywhere and I'd personally look elsewhere before considering these two as safe investments, although keep in mind I said the same thing about AIG - so do your own DD and invest accordingly.

Disclosure: Long SPNG, no position FRM, FNE.

Doubleday Book Club (Direct Agents)- dbc300x250

EPCT:

From an anonymous poster:

Did you get out of EPCT? You have indicated a few times that you have been considering getting out.

VFC's Take: It's true that I've been considering getting out of EPCT for some time, but I've also stated that I'm going to hold on until the next update on Azixa is released.

Azixa, a treatment for brain cancer, is partnered with Myriad and positive updates on that drug candidate have launched the EPCT stock price to over four dollars in the past.

I haven't completely written off Ceplene yet, but the lack of relevant news regarding a European partner is somewhat troubling and I'm not going to bank the future of my EPCT investment on that product.

EPCT still holds quite a bit of potential, in my opinion, and I'm still in - for the time being.

Disclosure: VFC is long EPCT.

Realty Trac

Disney Buys Marvel - Congrats MVL Longs, Buy DIS

Shareholders of Marvel Entertainment (MVL) were met with great news on Monday morning when it was announced that Disney will acquire Marvel for a cash and stock deal worth four billion dollars.

Shares of MVL were up by over ten dollars during premarket trading and opened regular trading 27% higher.

This deal is a great reward for long time shareholders of MVL, in my opinion, although there will probably be those who will feel that the deal is undervalued based on the future potential of the company. I can see the arguments for both sides.

While the deal gives shareholders of MVL an immediate boost to the value of the portfolio, those who believe that the long time value of MVL is worth more than the current deal may want to add some shares of DIS to the long term portfolio - as I may, since I dithered around long enough before buying back into MVL.

Congrats to MVL shareholders - for those that held the stock for the long term, I like a buy of DIS right now. Marvel's characters and Disney's reach could spell good things for the future.

Disclosure: No Positions.

EverBank People 300 x 250

Friday, August 28, 2009

Briefs: SPNG, C, AIG, BIEL, TTNP, VNDA

SPNG.ob: I've received quite a few inquiries from readers asking for my updated opinion on Spongetech Delivery, a stock that has continued to rise since I first commented on it a few weeks ago.

Since that time I've had SPNG on my watch list hoping for a dip, but since my dip never arrived I ended up looking like a dip when I jumped in at nineteen cents on Thursday when I could have bought in for 30% lower just a few weeks before.

Regardless, there's room for pretty significant growth with this company and it's stock, in my opinion, especially with all the high profile marketing going on right now; the most recent being an announcement of a prominent featuring at the 2009 US Open.

I'm probably not a buyer of the products myself, but they seem to be finding a niche in the American mainstream - enough to where I think that the stock is worth buying at these prices.

I'm in and I'll buy on any dips.

Disclosure: VFC is long SPNG.



Two stocks that have been impressive of late with their recent runs are C and AIG. I considered C a good 'rebound buy' when it traded for below $3, but I honestly did not expect us to $5 so soon.

I never jumped on the AIG bandwagon when it hit bottom - because I considered the company to be a mess - but those who jumped in on either for prices at or near the recent lows are laughing all the way to the bank right now.

That being said, this is a great opportunity for some profit taking, in my opinion. I'm not convinced that another temporary drop in the market is not going to happen and investors will have wanted to at least realize some profits just in case another market dip does occur. However, there's also no reason not to hold onto some shares for the long term - I'm still holding some of my C assets, mostly long calls, for the long term.

AIG still has me a little bit sceptical, only because the company was such a mess, and that stock has risen so much lately that I'd probably sell the majority of my position now - if I had one.

Do your own DD and abide by your own exit strategy, but don't forget to realize at least some profits because these recent runs should be well rewarded.

Disclosure: Long C, no position AIG.

optionsXpress

BIEL.pk: Shares of BIEL continued to hover around seven cents after the company announced the completion of a clinical trial testing ActiPatch for the treatment of heel and foot pain. Trial results were positive and the company is preparing for another FDA application.

If BIEL dips back to five cents, I'm a huge buyer again, but for now I'll be happy adding every time it dips below seven cents.

I think that BIEL will ultimately become a huge winner - it already is for some - because I think that the ActiPatch is going to gain in global popularity as consumers move away from Tylenol and Ibuprofen because of their often overlooked side effects.

For the long term, I still consider BIEL a great buy for seven cents.

Disclosure: VFC is long BIEL.

Lavalife.com

VNDA, TTNP: After a nice runup of both Vanda and Titan stocks leading into Vanda's annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, Friday saw both stocks decline as no news was released regarding a partnership, buyout or Fanapt patent extension.

While some investors are concerned of the possibility that Vanda is going to 'go it alone' with Fanapt - hence the need for additional financing - I don't believe that this is the case.

A patent extension for Fanapt is crucial to applying an accurate value on any potential buyout or partnership deal and, in my opinion, that is the holdup.

Keep an eye on the news wires this Friday afternoon; if bad news is going to be released it will most likely come then, but more than likely investors will be waiting at least another week for the outcome of the Vanda/Titan/Fanapt saga.

I'm still calling a hold on both stocks, unless you're trading in and out on the volatility, and I still believe that both stocks have some pretty good upside ahead of them.

Chances are, TTNP and VNDA will make VFC's Weekly Watch list next week again.

Disclosure: VFC is long TTNP, no position in VNDA.

Nestle Waters

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Readers' Picks: ELTY, SYMW, CRXX, CTIC

In response to a number of requests that I've received via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found, I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone takes a few things into account while reading:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

optionsXpress

ELTY.ob: A comment from Pixie:

What are your thoughts on these two companies which offer electric car solutions - Ecotality (ETLY) and Sympowerco (SYMW)? ETLY just got a $99.8 million grant from the US Govt, but share prices are pretty much stagnant. Is there a future to them?

SYMW I'm not so sure about but it's name gets thrown around a lot on penny stock boards.


VFC's Take: Regarding Ecotality, Inc, I'll start by saying the large government contract is a non-factor right now because it's been widely publicized, everyone knows about it and, for the most part, is already priced into the stock - even with the recent decline off it's post-announcement highs.

The price is now trading on a few different prospects, in my opinion:

- decreasing revenue and increases losses, which the company states was the result of trimming down business operations in order apply for free money - government grants,

- debt,

- questions as to whether the electric car and electric car grid are really going to catch on mainstream or is it just a fancy gimmick and an excuse to dish out $100 million of 'stimulus' money.

An additional cause for concern, in my opinion, is that the company now essentially works for and is supported by the federal government. That means that, in a nutshell, productivity is going to decrease as spending and costs increases - just like the government. That is pretty much a guarantee and, in fact, by announcing that they have decreased output in order to apply for the government grants - they've already started down that path.

That being said, there is also a lot of potential here.

If these electric cars and the charging infrastructure do end up catching on mainstream, then this company is sure to benefit pretty heftily.

Additionally, 55% of the company's shares are held by insiders - a good incentive to not become such a cesspool of non-productivity as other government employed contractors.

I'll keep ELTY.ob on my watch list, and if it dips to below ten cents I may buy some 'just in case' shares, but for now I'm waiting to see how the company moves on with spending the taxpayer's money, which may take a couple of quarters.

Here's something else to think about, however, which also negates some of the positive spin of 55% insider ownership:

This company will survive long term now, but that's not entirely positive. Without a doubt this $100 million is not going to be enough to get the job done. The company will go back to the government and ask for more money to complete the job that they couldn't complete because of "cost over-runs" (too many lunches at "Hooters") and administrative expenditures (executive salaries and 'greasing' government employees.

Because they'll now enjoy the luxury of government money and be well off regardless of the stock price, the stock price becomes less important for the time being. They're goal now is to maintain a revenue stream from Uncle Sam (milk the government), not make shareholders happy. Just something to consider.

As I have stated, I'll take a wait and see approach with this one, but I can understand how someone would want to jump in at these trading levels - it's an awfully attractive entry point for a stock with potential that drew a $100 million grant.

SYMW.pk: Highly, highly, HIGHLY speculative.

Could I support a buy of a handful of speculative 'just in case' shares? Yes.

Could I be satisfied that Sympower Corp. is a good long term investment/bet? No.

SWYM is a penny stock that, because of swings in both directions, will allow investors to trade for huge percentage gains, but as of yet, it's unclear whether these guys are, or will ever, be for real.

I'd stand clear from this one until there's something solid to invest on.

Disclosure: No positions.



CRXX: CombinatoRx, Inc.

A comment was posted asking for my take on a good entry point for CRXX and CTIC:

CRXX is still quite a ways off from bringing anything to market and therefor I'd like to see a sub $1 entry point, even after the most recent run of the stock.

If you're in now, try to average down or buy a few shares where it's trading now, but pick up the buying if it drops to below $1.

Another option is to wait until some of these Phase II trials come to fruition. If positive, the stock price will be trading higher but at least you'll have a better idea of whether or not the drugs actually work; it will still be a highly speculative stock, but less-so than it is now.

Disclosure: No positions.



CTIC: I've received a few emails and comments regarding CTIC and why I haven't discussed it much, if at all.

The stock has already enjoyed a huge run this year and was surrounded by a lot of hype, that is the reason that I shied away from it - I don't like chasing stocks and since I missed out on the huge run, I wasn't about to jump in on the high.

Since the company just filed an NDA with the FDA for it's drug Pixantrone for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, the FDA's response, although still a ways off, should have the most immediate effect on the stock price - barring Opaxio results. However, the 850 million market cap could preclude any additional huge runs.

Cell Therapeutics has a bit in the pipeline, aside from Pixantrone, but I don't consider it as good a cancer pick as I do AGEN or ONTY right now, mainly because of the high market cap and the most immediate potential for gains. If anything goes wrong for CTIC (delay by FDA, not so stellar Opaxio results, etc) then significan price drop will follow. I know that applies to any stock, but CTIC's market cap is 400% higher than AGEN's, for instance.

As for an entry point - if you like CTIC get in while it's trading for $1.50 and pick up the buying if it dips. This stock could prove to be a real winner for the mid to long term and could jump over two dollars at any time in the short term, but as I said, I'm more comfortable with an investment in AGEN and ONTY at this point.
I'll keep CTIC on the watch list and wait for any unexpected dips before reassessing.

Disclosure: No positions.

Readers' Picks: YMI, BEE, CQP, PKPL, GETA

In response to a number of requests that I've received via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found, I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone takes a few things into account while reading:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

optionsXpress

YMI: When I first responded to a reader inquiry about YMI a few weeks ago, I called it a nice mid to long term speculative play that could quickly resume trading for over a dollar as speculative money starts coming back into the market.

The trip to over a buck was a quick one, as YMI spiked to over $1.70 during early trading on Wednesday, making many sub-$1 investors extremely happy.

I stand by my previous assessment that YMI is good speculative play, but I'd be a little bit more careful about getting in now, after the nice run, than before when I considered it a great buy for about sixty cents.

As long as the market holds up, this stock should be above a dollar for good and I'd treat it like KERX - buy the dips. If positive news is released to support the recent run, then the stock could be done trading for below $2, but if the run is just a case of YM trading to it's potential, then dips to the low $1 range are likely and that would be a perfect time to add more shares.

I considered moving my EPCT money into YMI earlier this month, but I never got around to doing that. Too bad, on my part - I missed the boat!

There's a lot of potential loaded into this stock.

Disclosure: No positions.

Accuquote (Direct Agents)

BEE: Strategic Hotels & Resorts continues to get beat down by the bad economy, and while I do believe that this stock - and other stocks like it - will eventually recover as people start spending money on luxury weekends and vacations again, I don't think that a recovery in this sector is imminent.

I think it'll be a long time before things 'return to normal' in that sector and these companies will merely survive for the time being.

That being said, a recovery should eventually take place in the sector and while I think that there are a lot of better places right now to put your money for more immediate growth - an investment in BEE with a long term outlook may not bee (bad joke) a bad idea.

Disclosure: No positions.

Heart Detectives img 92 ban

CQP:

From Alejandro:

Hi VFC.
I have been trying to diversify my portfolio, and I found this company (CQP), I did my DD, and I think is an interesting opportunity, even when is trading high I think It has big possibilities to growth. One thing that caught my attention about this share is the dividends payment, I´d like to ask you, based on your own experience what are your thoughts about buying a share that pay good dividend (as an investment to take money regularly and speculate about their growth), and what would be your smell test about this one. Thank in advance!!!

VFC's Take: CQP doesn't look too bad in terms of possibilities of growth, but there's a couple of possible red flags that go through my mind here; remember, I haven't done as much DD on this one as Alejandro, there are just general red flags that are more relative to my investing style:

One, I am hesitant to buy into energy companies right now. The volatility of the energy market in combination with the general global desire to move towards alternative energy has me skeetish about some of these companies moving forward (with the exception of some of the big boys).

Two, the amount of debt that this company has would be worrisome for me, especially in combination with my first point. This also brings me into my next point;

Three, The dividend. Because of the debt, I wouldn't be so confident that the dividend would always be there and if it was, it could be reduced at some point. I don't invest on stocks solely for the prospects of a dividend payment because it would take a rather large investment of money for a small investor to buy enough shares of this stock - or others comparable - to make the dividend payments worthwhile. I, personally, would not factor the dividend into the equation when analyzing this company or the stock - to me, it's a non factor, because a dip in price could easily wipe out any dividend gains.

At first glance, CQP could grow, but I think that there are better energy related stocks out there - CPST, for instance - with more potential to produce higher percentage gains than this one.

If you want in, add it to the watch list and wait for any significant dips, in my opinion.

Also, I'm not a fan of buying a stock solely to be diversified. A good stock is a good stock, period. I'd rather have two good stocks in the same sector than one good stock in one sector and an ok stock in another. If my good stocks both dip at the same time due to a 'sector retreat', then I've got two good buying opportunities on my hand. If you carry my philosophy, however, you've got to have a tough stomach and not be too concerned with the day to day value of your portfolio.

Regarding CQP, there's nothing specifically there that makes this one jump out at me, but a lot of my take is based on my own investing style.

Disclosure: No position.

8x8, Inc.

PKPL: A follow up comment from a reader asking for VFC's Take on Park Place Energy (PKPL.ob):

Appreciate the info on PKPL. I have been watching this one for a short-term play with the upcoming 1-10 Forward stock split.
They did announce a couple days ago that the Split date was moved to 10/31/09, hence the recent sell-off. Given the pps now is pretty much at pre-split announcement levels around 0.04 it looks like a safer entry, in my opinion, at this level for the likely runup next week.


VFC's Take: The four and five cent levels are most certainly a more attractive entry price than the eight cent level that the stock was trading at not too long ago, but I'm still a bit sceptical of the stock.

That being said, after a 50% recent decline in price, I'd be more apt to jump in this one now on the basis that it could head towards eight cents again just on pure speculation.

Of note, the company released a PR on Tuesday morning announcing another joint venture and this statement in the PR could possibly induce some speculative buying over the next few days:

Park Place would also like to remind shareholders of the announced 10 for 1 forward stock split. Shareholders of record as of Monday August 31, 2009 will be entitled to receive a further 9 shares of Park Place Energy Corp. for every 1 share each shareholder currently holds.

I'm still not sold on these small, speculative exploratory energy companies as long term investments, but I could understand someone taking a gamble on PKPL.

Disclosure: No positions.

Veracity Credit Consultants

GETA.ob: Genta, Inc.

From Lenny:

Do you think Genta (Geta.ob) is a good play at these levels? They appear to have a pipeline and a product in phase 3 - i came across this article (http://www.quote.com/news/story.action?id=RTT908190614000335) which makes me a little nervous (but is it to be believed?). The stock has really been hammered and there have been several reverse splits.

When you get a chance, let me know.



VFC's Take: I've had this stock on my watch list for the better part of the last year, but I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on buying - not even after the recent reverse split.

The Phase III Genasense trial in melanoma, for which results should be released in the next three months,is key, in my opinion, to the company's ultimate survival, but it's a hit or miss that could destroy your investment if the trial results are not positive.

The main reason why I have been hesitant to buy is because I get the impression that this company is better at 'spin' than it is at producing results. For that reason, I will continue to pass on buying this stock unless it drops to about a quarter - or below. Then i may purchase a few "just in case" shares.

I continue to be on the fence about this one.

Disclosure: No positions.

Bubbles

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Briefs: BDSI, BIEL, CSUH

BDSI: Shares of BioDelivery Sciences jumped to over the five dollar mark once again as the company announced on Tuesday morning that the United States Patent Office has issued a US Patent Extending Exclusivity for the company's BEMA Delivery Technology until at least 2019.

While this news is encouraging both for the company and investors, BioDelivery will request a further extension of the patent into early 2020.

I continue to stand by my previous assessment of BDSI - that it could now be considered a long term growth stock and no longer a speculative one - and Tuesday's patent news just emphasizes that point.

With a new PR firm on board, an extended patent and sales of Onsolis projected to begin later this year, BDSI will ultimately be looked at as a bargain for $5, in my opinion.

Disclosure: VFC is long BDSI.

optionsXpress

BIEL.pk: On Monday morning BioElectronics Corporation issued a press release stating that the company will conduct a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of their ActiPatch product to Tylenol.

What's encouraging about the trial is that it will be short - about 60 days - and will be a good step towards bringing ActiPatch to the mainstream.

BIEL slipped to under seven cents on Tuesday, a price that, in my opinion, makes for a good entry point. I'd love one more dip to five cents to load up, but I'm not going to complain about a six and a half cent price for a share of a company that produces a product that I believe will hit the global mainstream before it's all said and done.

BIEL is still a good buy, in my opinion - for the long term.

Disclosure: VFC is long BIEL.



CSUH.ob: Yet another update on Celsius Holdings, maker of the world's first calorie burning beverage - Celsius; but I'll keep this brief brief.

According to a Monday press release, Carl DeSantis' has increased his investment in Celsius Holdings to $15.3 million.

This time the credit came from Carl's company "CDS Ventures of South Florida, LLC ("CDS")" and the loan terms call for Celsius receiving the funding in full over a three and half month period in return for Celsius Holdings, Inc. common stock at the lower of $0.40 or market price at the time of conversion.

In my opinion, this financing is going to be used to support what VFC will call a 'mass marketing event' - just my opinion - where Celsius makes a big push to the mainstream. Coincidentally enough, the new television season is starting up in September so I'm anticipating either nationwide television ads, a big television endorsement (Oprah or another popular show) or some serious celebrity endorsements.

This is all just my speculation, of course, but I think the company is gearing up for huge growth in the short term.

A temporary drop may be possible, but for the mid-to-long term - CSUH looks like it will continue to move up in the 'we've got a winner of a stock' category.

Still a BUY, in my opinion.

Disclosure: VFC is long CSUH.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Briefs: CPST, CSUH, BDSI, AGEN, CVM, MSBT

I'll be working through some emails in the next couple of days and responding to quite a few of the readers' picks, but for now here's Monday's briefs:

CPST: Shares of Capstone Turbine traded as high as $1.16 on Monday after the company announced that it has received an order, valued at two million dollars plus, for three C800 microturbine systems for a large wastewater treatment plant in Brazil. This order is Capstone's first venture into South America.

I'm still a fan of this company and it's stock as a 'green pick' for my portfolio and, barring another market slide, it looks like the stock could be ready to maintain the $1 level from this point forward.

A key note from the press release - "The small, modular systems allow for easy and low cost installation" - indicates, in my opinion, cost savings; a crucial item for a company looking to improve it's company's bottom line and head in the direction that investors want to see - towards profitability.

I'm still a buyer of CPST at a dollar and I like the future prospects of this company as the company continues to grow and expand globally.

Disclosure: VFC is long CPST.

Apple iTunes

CSUH.ob: Celsius Holdings announced yet another new distribution agreement on Monday, this time with Tops Friendly Markets in New York and Pennsylvania.

I'll keep this 'stock brief' brief since I just highlighted the stock in my 'Weekly Stock Watch,' but the recent burst in distribution can do nothing but help the growing brand awareness of an already novel calorie burning product.

There's big things brewing from Celsius, in my opinion, and investors don't want to be on the sidelines when/if big news hits.

Barring a general market slide, it's looking more and more like the fifty cent level (give or take a few pennies) is going to hold, so if you're not in yet - it might be a good idea to at least buy a handful of shares now. That way you won't miss a run on news, but if the stock were to dip you could buy more.

With the growing celebrity buzz surrounding the company, the product and the stock - CSUH could run at any time.

Disclosure: VFC is long CSUH.

Netflix, Inc.

Nice price action from these three stocks:

CVM, BDSI, AGEN: These three stocks have rebounded nicely on Monday, bouncing off recent lows and an uptrend is in order for each of these stocks.

For BDSI, the company is a long term keeper now, in my opinion, and the stock price will eventually reflect that fact - post-Onsolis-approval price action aside.

The 'prime time' for cancer immunotherapy treatments is near, in my opinion, and both AGEN and CVM should both benefit from the growing awareness of the treatment. It's my opinion that Cel Sci, after recently raising capital, is gearing up for a news announcement regarding the much anticipated Multikine Phase III trial. Once that trial date is announced I believe that the stock could inch towards the one dollar level; therefor I'm buying CVM under fifty cents now, where my previous buy price was for under forty cents.

In my opinion, BDSI, AGEN and CVM are all long term winners.

Disclosure: VFC is long all mentioned stocks.

MR.BEER® Home Brewing Kits. American's #1 Home Brewing System. Makes a great gift!

MSBT.ob: Shares of MedaSorb Technologies have traded higher on increased volume of late, possibly in anticipation of the upcoming Rodman & Renshaw Global Investment Conference in New York City that will take place from September 9-11.

I'm not anticipating a big news announcement, just increased awareness and perhaps an update on the progress of the European CytoSorb trial.

In my opinion, the increased volume is an indication of some accumulation going on and as the date for trial results gets closer, the stock price should start an uptrend.

I like MSBT.ob for anything other ten cents and I'll be more than willing to average down if the stock dips to six cents again.

Disclosure: VFC is long MSBT.

Wedding Gifts

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Stock Watch: VNDA, TTNP, SIRI, CSUH, AGEN

VNDA, TTNP: As I mentioned last week, until there is some closure in the Fanapt situation, shares of Vanda and Titan Pharmaceuticals are going to highlight my weekly 'Stock Watch' list.

Of note this week, Vanda will hold it's annual shareholders meeting in Rockville, MD on Thursday and it's possible that investors will be expecting Fanapt news to be released on or around the date of the shareholder's meeting - which means another volatile week of trading could be in store for VNDA and TTNP.

I've long speculated on a partnership or buyout involving both Vanda and Titan, but it's likely news will not be released until the outcome of the pending patent restoration decision is announced. On June 9th Vanda submitted the required paperwork for patent restoration with regards to Fanapt and it's likely that the outcome of this restoration decision is what is holding up any potential partnership/outright sale agreement.

In addition to the pending patent news, the fact that both Titan and Novartis will be due royalties on Fanapt sales surely complicates matters even further and any likely partnership or sale should be expected to take a bit more time as the details of 'who gets what' are worked out.

The worst case scenario for Vanda shareholders, in my opinion, is if the company 'goes it alone' with the Fanapt launch - due in fourth quarter - in which case the company would most likely need to raise cash. It's not my opinion that Vanda will be launching alone, however, as nothing in terms of preparations (sales staff hiring, etc) has taken place - at least not overtly.

Regardless of whether Vanda or an acquiring company launches the drug, I still see TTNP - with a guaranteed 10% of sales while having no costs involved - as the better buy at these levels.

Another week, another VNDA and TTNP stock watch. Keep an eye on the 27th.

Disclosure: VFC is long TTNP, no position VNDA.

Diamonds On Web-HP-Ribon-120x90

SIRI: After shares of SIRI hit nearly seventy eight cents last week, it's worth keeping this one on the watch list for this week as well.

As I posted here last Friday, I sold about 1/3 of my position of SIRI into the spike on Friday morning and will see how the stock trades this week as to whether or not I will buy those shares back.

I'm a fan of profit taking, especially when significant gains were had, but even though I sold some of my position in the stock, it doesn't mean that I have changed my stance that ultimately SIRI is going to surpass the $1 mark again.

If the stock continues the retreat of Friday afternoon this week, I will most likely buy back the shares that I sold on Friday for a lower price, but I'm also looking to keep some cash on hand for the possibility that the market may slide on more time before continuing it's march towards DOW 10,000.

I'd like to see the stock dip back to the fifty cent range to re-buy my shares, but I also wouldn't be opposed to a continuation of the recent run.

Long term, SIRI at these prices is still a good deal, in my opinion; keep it on the watch list and buy on any dips.

Disclosure: VFC is long SIRI.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

CSUH.ob: After seeing a commercial on Sunday for the upcoming season of "The Biggest Loser," I couldn't help but think about the possible significant news that could be pending for Celsius to continue the calorie-burning drink's march into the American mainstream.

A recent post on the company's blog noted that celebrity chef Devin Alexander, who is associated with the television program "The Biggest Loser," was provided with samples of the Celsius beverage and offered positive commentary on the product via Twitter.

Of note, Celsius also sponsored the open casting calls for "The Biggest Loser" in 2008.

With the flurry of new distribution in addition to recent promotions and sponsorships, the perfect storm may be brewing for Celsius to become a mainstay in the new 'healty lifestyle' that is becoming more and more popular in America today.

The stock has held up rather strong after it's run to a high of seventy cents and it will only take a big time celebrity coming on board to propel the stock - and product sales - even higher.

The longer I see the stock maintain the fifty cent level, the better a buy I believe it is; any dips below that level make it a great buy, in my opinion. We're not investing in the now with CSUH, we're investing in the future.

Three things I like about the stock right now are:

1) Insiders still hold the majority of shares and aside from a little bit of profit taking by the CFO, they're all still holding';

2) The company continues to report stellar quarter-over-quarter growth;

3) To date, management has never mislead shareholder and the CEO has always been very open and honest to shareholder questions and concerns;

4) The recent increase in distributorship and marketing is certainly going to reach the bottom line in the next quarter or two.

CSUH.ob has already proven to be a winner and, in my opinion, this is only the beginning.

Disclosure: VFC is long CSUH.



AGEN: Comically enough, AGEN has become a symbol of the impatience of America.

Although AGEN is sitting at being more than a triple since March of this year, many investors are becoming impatient with the stock - judging by some emails I've received and subsequent message board reading on my part.

After a run like AGEN has already enjoyed - in addition to some obvious manipulation in the market place when a Wall Street Journal positive report was followed by an Adam Feuerstein bash - it's to be expected that the stock faces some consolidation on the way up.

There's no such thing as a sure thing in the market, but a stock with the potential of AGEN shouldn't be treated like a fast paced game of blackjack. If you're willing to give up on AGEN in a few weeks because it didn't become a double yet, then you should never have invested your money in the stock in the first place. I've held stocks for years before they paid off (AGEN is one of them).

If your DD tells you that AGEN could become the next Dendreon (DNDN), then you should hold until the stock either rises to it's potential or bad news makes it a loser. The worst thing to encounted is watching a stock skyrocket after you've become too impatient to wait for it - trust me, I've made that mistake.

Every investor should trade based on his or her own DD, but selling out of sheer impatience could be a sign of greed that may come back to bite the impatient investor.

With the Russian launch of Oncophage imminent; Russian re-imbursement news pending; EMEA news due later this year and QS-21 all over the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); AGEN continues to be one of my selections as the possible next DNDN.

However, while the impatient investors start to sell, you can be assured that VFC will be adding shares of AGEN at the $2 level.

Disclosure: VFC is long AGEN.

SwissOutpost and Swiss Knife Depot

Friday, August 21, 2009

There's Nothing Wrong With Taking a Little Profit

Being a big fan of profit taking, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a little money off the table today because it not only has freed up some free cash to enjoy a little bit of the good life, but I'm also not convinced that another dip down to the DOW 8500 level isn't a possibility.

If the market does take another slide before once again marching forward towards DOW 10000, then cash on hand is going to become a necessity for those looking to jump in on any bargains that may open up.

I want to emphasize that I did not completely sell out of any position; I just sold enough to satisfy my thirst for profit and to free up some additional cash.

First, I couldn't resist the opportunity to sell some shares of SIRI for seventy six cents. Most of these shares I had purchased for about ten cents and thought that today, after a significant run for the stock, was as good a time as any to realize some profits. However, I still have about two thirds of my position left because I believe SIRI will reach - and then surpass - a dollar sometime in the short-to-mid-term future.

I then decided to sell most of my Citi September $5 call options. Those have also traded up pretty significantly over the past few weeks and I couldn't resist the opportunity to sell - especially since they will only be valid for another month. I retained my full inventory of Citi long calls since, as I've mentioned before, I think Citi Group and it's stock price will ultimately recover along with the rest of the market.

Again, I like the idea of having cash on hand in case the market takes another dip before recovering and SIRI and C have helped me boost the reserves, for the time being.

Whatever the reason is, however, realizing some profit is a must in this game, because a profit is not a profit until it's realized.

Disclosure: VFC is long SIRI and long C.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Readers' Picks: PKPL, PLX

I have received a number of requests via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found. I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone keeps in mind a few things:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

PKPL.ob: An email regarding Park Place Energy:

Hey VFC! I love your blog and your research...you have been extremely helpful and insightful. I'd like to run a potential stock by you if you don't mind: Park Place Energy (PKPL). Trading for about .07 cents right now and about to conduct a 10 - 1 forward split. They do oil and gas exploration and have revenues, but also will need financing.

Basically, I'm wondering why a company trading this low would do a "forward split" - is this an indicator that good news is on the horizon? Is there any potential here?

The deadline of record to buy is August 20th. Thanks for any help in advance! Have a great night.


VFC's Take: I'll start by saying that I generally stay away from exploratory energy companies because of a few reasons which I'll cover.

The first reason being that I've been burned before - not so much in losses, but in time spent waiting.....and waiting.....and waiting.....for something to result from all the "exploration" that the company did.

I'm not opposed to a waiting game, I've sat years on biotech stocks waiting for something to materialize, but with biotech stocks there are deadlines and milestones (clinical trials, approvals) that can be tracked. Exploratory energy companies can spend years telling you that they are still exploring without having to produce results.

That being said, if an OTC BB or PK company were to strike oil - literally - then I'd expect some significant percentage gains in share price.

As for the forward split, the company announced that the split was intended to "broaden share ownership and increase trading liquidity." In my opinion, there is nothing significant there and I look at it more as a psychological game than anything else.

Additionally, the company is in the whole financially and will definitely need additional financing very soon. If I were looking to take a chance with this company, I'd wait until after the financing is announced before taking a leap - but I can assure you I won't be jumping in.

The company seems to have potential, based on joint ventures and land to explore, but as I stated earlier - there's no way that VFC could know whether these guys are seriously on to something with the "exploration" or if they're using investor money to buy a few pints of Guinness at the local Irish Pub.

I've also followed Harken Energy Corporation (HKN) - another energy company that reported having a lot of "exploratory land" - over the years and that one also has not paid off for investors; the George W Bush, Jr incident aside.

The stock could pay off, but if I was getting in I'd definitely sell into any significant spikes, unless the company released ground breaking news along the way.

As for the forward split, in my opinion, it's a non factor right now.

Disclosure: No positions.

Bliss World, LLC

PLX: A comment regarding Protalix Biotherapeutics:

VFC,

I know you're probably already really busy, but if you have time, you might want to check out PLX. If you've heard about the GENZ mess, you might like PLX. They got their treatment protocol approved by the FDA today (their drug is for Gaucher disease like GENZ's.), and I would think that they would probably have considerable more upside from here.

Just my opinion.

Here's VFC's Take very quickly: The company, which uses leaves from tobacco and carrots to produce it's drug treatments (novel in itself), is loaded with potential. Protalix has also filled the gaucher-treatment void after Genzyme Corp came upon some unexpected supply constraints with their own drug. The FDA approved temporary protocol that allowes the Protalix drug to be used instead.

That being said, I'm weary of a buy right now because of the fact that the stock has already enjoyed a good run and Gaucher Phase III trial results are due out in the immediate future (months). If the trial results are anything but extremely positive, then the stock will be due for a market cap trim - which could be accompanied with hefty losses for those that may have bought in now.

If the results are positive, however, the stock could run, but I think investors would then have a chance to buy in on a post-spike dip before the company files their NDA with FDA, at which time there may be additional opportunities to buy on dips leading into the FDA decision.

PLX has potential, but I like finding these companies earlier along in pipeline development when the risk/reward looks a lot better. With a market cap of nearly 500 million, it could be an expensive drop if anything goes wrong.

There is potential here, however, do your DD - for some the possible rewards may be worth the risk. For me, it's only a 'watch list' addition, for the time being.

Caribou Coffee Company

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Readers' Picks: ASFX, American Scientific Research, INC

I have received a number of requests via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found. I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone keeps in mind a few things:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

ASFX.pk: After a huge run on Wednesday, I got a few emails about this stock.

Shares of American Scientific Resources, INC (ASFX.pk) closed the day Wednesday nearly 800% to the upside after the company announced that it has acquired the rights to the only home Needle Destruction Device (NDD) approved by the US FDA.

VFC's Take: The move to acquire the rights to this product was a bold one by American Scientific Resources as, according to Wednesday's press release, there is a growing global market for the product.

After ASFX enjoyed the huge run that it did on Wednesday, I'm hesitant to jump in now - because I'm not a fan of chasing stocks - but it's a stock to be added to the watch list because of the future potential for additional huge percentage gains.

However, for the short term, there is also the potential that the stock could post some fairly significant percentage losses as profit takers and day/swing/momentum traders move out of the stock.

The needle destruction device for which the company just purchased the rights could prove to be a short to mid term money maker for American Scientific, but long term I'm not sure how reliable a revenue stream this product, which sells for about $120 a pop, can produce. While the market may look pretty big for this product, according to the press release, it's not a product that can be sold over and over again to the same customer - unlike BIEL's ActiPatch which will garner repeated sales. This NDD is a one-time sale and that will limit it's future value.

More than likely, the company will use revenue from the NDD to both pay down debt and acquire additional product licenses.

With about 243 million outstanding shares (from what I could find), I could buy into the fact that this stock could traded between five and ten cents in the near future - but I would hold this as a short term trading stock vice a long term pick for the time being; it's too speculative a play since the success of this company depends on future licensing deals, because the NDD and KidzMed isn't going to cut it alone. Don't get me wrong, the company has potential, but I'll take the 'wait and see' approach.

Add it to the watch list and see how it trades over the next few trading sessions. I could support a buy on a significant dip - but while I do think there's a chance that the stock could continue it's run - I'd rather miss the boat than buy at or near Wednesday's close and take the chance of the stock falling to previously traded levels below a penny.

My key point: A buy now would be a chase, and I'm not a fan of chasing a stock. Wait and see what happens.

If you were in on Wednesday's run - congrats - but don't forget to take some profits!

Disclosure: No Positions.

Wednesday's Briefs: BDSI, BIEL, CSUH, SIRI

BDSI: Shares of BioDelivery Sciences traded up about five percent during mid day trading on Wednesday after the company issued a PR announcing that it has (quoted from the Press Release) "retained ICR, a leading investor relations and strategic advisory firm, to assist in the Company's shareholder communications program."
Any growing company like BioDelivery could use a good PR firm to grow both the business and investor awareness and ICR looks to be just as good a choice as any to get the message out.

In additional news, Robert W Baird analyst Thomas Russo initiated coverage on BDSI with a rating of 'Outperform' and a price target of $7.

After the recent breach through the five dollar level where I thought it would be a good idea to add a few shares, I don't see BDSI going any lower than the current levels - but if it does, I'd be prepared to add again on any dip.

That being said, BDSI should start inching upwards, in my opinion, as the fourth quarter launch of Onsolis approaches, and I also think that the $7 price target issued by Russo is somewhat conservative given that the stock briefly traded for over eight bucks a couple of months ago. I could very well see this stock approaching ten dollars over the next couple of quarters as investors get an idea of how Onsolis is selling in addition to some pipeline updates issued by the new PR firm.

Shareholders who held through the post-Onsolis-approval dip, and then added in the fours, should start reaping the rewards of their patience by the fourth quarter of 2009.

If you're an investor just now looking to get in, BDSI - with an approved product awaiting commercial launch - is a good growth story (no longer speculative) that has additional potential in the pipeline.

Current shareholders may find adding shares for under five bucks an attractive proposition.

Disclosure: VFC is long BDSI.

LinkShare_300x250

BIEL.pk: After issuing a PR that outlined a significantly stronger company balance sheet, shares of BioElectronics once again traded for over eight cents - just a starting point, in my opinion, of things to come with this company and it's stock.

According to Andrew Whelan, CEO of BioElectronics, all convertable debt has been eliminated from the company's balance sheet which, of course, bodes well for both short term and future cash flow.

Wednesday's press release also indicated that the company is preparing to file three, not the two that were previously reported, new FDA approval applications - only adding to the potential of the ActiPatch products that I think could become fixtures in the global market place as alternatives to both Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

BIEL may continue to hover aroun eight cents for a little while longer - a good place to buy as it doesn't look like it's going to drop much lower - but when the FDA approvals start rolling in and if quarterly sales numbers are positive, then a nice run in the stock could be in store.

I would keep a little bit of cash on the sidelines, however, because it is the stock market and you never know when an unexpected dip in a stock may take place. If that does happen with BIEL, you want to have some cash readily available to buy on the dip.

Long term (a few years out), I think those who were in BIEL for under ten cents are going to be sitting pretty, and I don't think that BIEL will be trading on the pinks at that point.

Disclosure: VFC is long BIEL.

GigaGolf, Inc.

CSUH: The "significant marketing push" discussed by Celsius CEO Steve Haley in a recent conference call continued at the Teen Choice Awards as Celsius had a prominent set up in the gifting suite of the awards show, according to a post and pictures on the Celsius Holdings web site (click here for link).

Also of note from the company web site, the October issue of 'Muscle and Fitness' magazine highlighted the Celsius calorie burning beverage and it's ingredients.

In my opinion, I don't believe that either of these marketing events is the 'real deal' event that I think the company has in the works - I get the feeling, based on the $7.5 million financing that was recently announced, that something bigger is coming - although that is just my own speculation.

Celsius also put out a PR on Wednesday morning that announced a new distribution agreement with Wright Wisner in upstate New York which will be supported by Celsius radio ads in the area, according to the PR.

I continue to maintain my stance that, in my opinion, Celsius is a product that stands out above the rest - "the rest" being a relative term because I don't compare Celsius to other sugar-laden energy drinks.

As the product gains traction in the market place and in the consumer awareness arena, significant sales and revenue should follow and that bodes well for shareholders.

I won't rule out another fairly significant dip in price sometime in the near future, but I'd also not want to be on the sidelines if significant news were to ignite another huge percentage run.

If you're on the sidelines now and are looking for an entry point, I'd buy a few shares now and then wait to see if it dips. If it dips, you can buy the dip - but by purchasing a few shares now, you're ensuring that at least you make something on any unexptected run.

In my opinion, Celsius is going mainstream and I still think that we're in on the bottom floor at these prices.

Disclosure: VFC is long CSUH.



SIRI: SIRI's climb to above sixty cents is worth noting as it may be an indication that some shorts are covering their shares in anticipation of a march towards the $1 mark.

In my opinion, SiriusXM could be a good rebound story as the economy and auto market recover, but the stock is definitely worth watching for the short term to ascertain as to whether or not Wednesday's price action is a head fake or the real deal.

Investors who may be looking for an entry point should watch this stock closely and pull the trigger on any dips back into the fifty, if not forty, cent range. If the broad market rally continues to look bullish, I can see SIRI reaching the dollar mark later this year.

If bad economic news were to push the markets lower, then that would open up a nice buying opportunity, in my opinion, for a broad selection of stocks.

My strategy is to stay prepared for both scenarios - buy a few shares now in case the economy - and the market - shows signs of recovery, but keep some cash readily available to buy on any significant market dips.

Either way, in my opinion, the small investor wins with that strategy.

Disclosure: VFC is long SIRI.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Readers' Picks: NRIFF, Nuvo Research

Lenny's comment regarding NRIFF.pk:

Hi Vinny,

I picked up some Nriff after it dropped, and after reading some of the message boards i see potential SP hopes of between $2-$3 post FDA approval (4th time the charm?).

In your opinion, is this too aggressive?

I would love to understand what techniques you are using to determine potential upside.

Tks!

Lenny


VFC's Take: For reasons that I've outlined HERE, I think that Nuvo Research is worth buying at these price levels because I believe that Pennsaid, through partner Covidien, has a good shot at US approval come November.

Personally, I'm not going to jump on the $2-$3 price target band wagon just yet - not that I don't believe that the stock could get there eventually, but I think asking for those prices immediately after approval is a bit premature.

From what I've gathered, total annual sales of Pennsaid in countries where it is currently approved total about $12 million. Of course, in the United States that number will be significantly higher as Pennsaid is entering into a $40 billion market, according to Nuvo's website. However, of that market, most other products are over-the-counter and Pennsaid will be prescription-based. In my opinion, that's heavy competition for market share.

Some estimates have Pennsaid annual US sales estimated to be between $200-$400 million.

Additionally, Nuvo will receive either $15 or $20 million upon Pennsaid approval, depending on labeling criteria. However, the exact numbers of Nuvo's royalties on sales are unclear at this time; the agreement only states that (quoted from the Nuvo website) "Nuvo will receive royalties on net U.S. sales of Pennsaid and Pennsaid
Plus at rates that are consistent with industry standards for products at similar
stages of development. Nuvo will be eligible to receive additional escalating sales
milestone payments for the products totaling up to US$100 million."


Until I know the exact percentage that Nuvo will receive I'm going to assume that the number is 10% - I think that's about right.

With nearly 400 million shares outstanding, judging where NRIFF should trade after Pennsaid approval is a speculator's game right now, but I am guessing that it will trade closer to a $400 million market cap ($1 per share), or even a little less, than the $800 million - $1.2 billion that a $2-$3 price would call for.

To be honest, I'm expecting - and would be happy with - and eighty cent stock price post approval. Maybe that is a bit conservative, but I'm not going to get carried away just yet. The bottom line is that before I know the exact royalty percentages that Nuvo will receive on Pennsaid sales I'm playing my estimates to the conservative side.

The scenario where I can see NRIFF trading for higher than my estimates is if the full $100 million in possible sales milestones is reached because that would indicate that the product is a hot seller. At that point I could see the stock supporting a billion dollar market cap.

Hope this helps, somewhat - but remember, this is just one guy's opinion!

Disclosure: VFC is long NRIFF.

bake me a wish, gourmet cakes, birthday cakes, gifts

Tuesday Morning Briefs: CVM, GERN

CVM: Shares of Cel Sci enjoyed a small spike to over fifty cents after the company released yet another press release relating it's LEAPS technology to treatment of the H1N1 Swine Flu. According to the PR, the company has expanded the scope towards creating a swine flu vaccine to include potential mutated forms of the virus.

Tuesday's PR offered nothing of significance, but it was another attempt by the company to maintain relevance in the arena of swine flue treatment.

In my opinion, although LEAPS looks to hold some serious future potential in the vaccine market, Cel Sci is behind the curve with the swine flu and investors should not consider an investment in the company as an investment in a possible swine flu vaccine.

Rather, an investment in Cel Sci should still be based on the potential of Multikine, a head and neck cancer vaccine that is being readied for a possible fourth quarter start date of a global Phase III trial.

It's obvious that these swine flu updates from Cel Sci are not strong enough to support a higher stock price, but the launch of the Multikine Phase III trial could prop the CVM stock up to above a dollar for good.

For now, I'll still accumulate this stock if it hits the low forties, but for the most part it's a waiting game for news on Multikine.

I've about had enough of the swine flu PRs from this company - talk to us when it looks like there could be a buyer for the vaccine or if LEAPS is involved in a licensing deal, because otherwise it just looks like the Cel Sci scientists are expending a lot of time and money on a project that is not likely to bear fruition.

I'm bullish on the future potential of LEAPS, don't get me wrong, but I'm bearish on the potential of Cel Sci to bring a swine flu vaccine to market.

Disclosure: VFC is long CVM.

RadioShack

GERN: Shares of Geron Corporation (GERN) traded down 10% during early trading on Tuesday due to a report that the FDA placed a clinical hold on the company's investigational new drug application for a cell therapy to treat spinal cord injuries. The FDA, according to the report, placed the hold while it reviewed new information supplied by the company.

Geron has been a great stem cell play for those that have been in the stock since it traded for under two dollars as it reached a high of over nine bucks not too long ago. That being said, the company still has a market cap of nearly 600 million dollars while having nothing in the pipeline past early Phase II trials.

However, while - in my opinion - the market cap is high considering the early stages of pipeline development, the potential of Geron's oncology and regenerative medicine pipeline is huge, and that's what has investors buying.

I don't like paying so much per share for companies that are still highly speculative - as is Geron - so I'm still holding off before I purchase shares of GERN. I'd rather pay more per share when I know that Phase II trials were completed with positive results than to take on expensive risk now before any of the pipeline treatments have had a chance to be tested in mid to late stage trials.

We saw what happened to the stock on perceived bad news after the spinal cord treatment clinical halt, and that treatment hasn't even been tested in humans yet; if any of the ongoing human trials are met with bad news, then the stock could take a significant plunge - and that is expensive risk if you've bought in while the company had a $600 million market cap or higher.

I'll continue my 'wait and see' approach with GERN - see how at least one Phase II trial plays out, but I'm still not a buyer just yet - even after Tuesday's dip.
However, if the stock dips to four or five bucks for any reason, then I'll re-consider my stance.

Disclosure: No positions.

Microsoft Store

Monday, August 17, 2009

Readers' Picks: AEZS, MJNA, NEOL

I have received a number of requests via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found. I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone keeps in mind a few things:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

AEZS:

VFC's Take on AEZS

Comment from a reader:

Thanks for your article here on AEZS! I decided to sell not too long ago to lock in my profits (eventually I just decided to sell all), and got out in the mid 2s... Now I'm glad I did it...

VFC's Take: As shares of AEZS were cut by 60% on Monday after Phase III results for Cetrorelix were less than stellar, the drop could be a valuable reminder to small investors - or any investor - why it is important to at least take some profits on any run leading up to trial results. Those that didn't, and there are some out there, got burned today - although many who bought for below thirty cents were still able to get out with significant gains.

Maybe even more important a lesson is that today's AEZS price action is a demonstration of why it's better to stay on the sidelines if you've already missed a run than to chase a stock that's on the rise. Those that bought this stock, or chased it, for over two bucks on anticipation of positive results were left hanging on Monday when the stock crashed.

We all make mistakes - I still regret not suggesting investors take some money off the table when INSM ran to over two dollars - but the important thing is that we learn from those mistakes.

That being said, I'm happy to see that the reader who posted the above comment made some big gains on this stock and did the right thing by realizing profits before the bad news was released. Whether or not you leave some money on the table through news is up to each investor and their tolerance for risk - but the important thing is that by selling some after a run guarantees that at least you've made something off your investment.

Just to be clear, I'm not a big fan of 'buy the rumor, sell the news', although it would apply here - because had results been positive, then the stock would have doubled, not been cut in half. I'm a fan of 'protect your investment by selling enough profit on the rumor to satisfy you if the news is bad.'

An example of that strategy is DNDN a couple of months ago; I sold some shares for $7 just before the Phase III IMPACT results came out in order to realize some gains, but had I sold everything on the 'rumor', then I would have missed out on the run to $25.

As for AEZS's Monday drop; Ordinarily I'd suggest looking into buying some 'just in case' shares after a big drop like this one, but in this case I suggest just cutting the cord moving on to another speculative play because of the following reasons:

- the company will now need to raise significant cash to survive,

- Santofe Aventis will probably cut the cord themselves, and

- the rest of the pipeline is years away from paying off.

However, if the stock drops to the fifty cent range or below, then it might be worth the risk of holding for the long term based on the remaining pipeline.

Pharmacyclics (PCYC), for example, was another stock that took a huge dive after a trial failure a couple of years ago, and after some time passed and stock remained low, the remaining pipeline hit the more advanced stages and again became a decent speculative play which I've once again started accumulating.

It could be that AEZS may turn out to be a worthwhile investment again at some point down the road; but for now, cut the cord and stand clear.

But keep it on the watch list and if the price drops low enough to entice you to buy a few 'just in case' shares for the future - then bite, if it suits your investing profile.

Disclosure: No position in AEZS, long PCYC.

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MJNA.pk: This stock has been thrown my way by a few readers over the past month or two and I thought it was about time to respond.

VFC's Take: I've been watching shares of Medical Marijuana for a little while now, but have not yet taken the leap into buying shares on the pink sheets because I've been holding back waiting to see if I could take the market potential for the product seriously - let alone the company itself.

However, it's starting to look like MJNA may be worth the risk of buying a few shares now and waiting to see what happens in the long term. Here's my reasons why:

- Marijuana for medicinal use, based on recent televised news segments and recent recognition by Forbes, seems to be gaining acceptance and traction in the market place.

- When compared to currently prescribed and abused narcotics, Marijuana looks tame in comparison, especially after the Michael Jackson situation.

- The politics are playing right; the current Congress wants to tax anything and everything and along with the legalization of on-line gambling in the US, medical marijuana would bring in additional tax revenue.

- If medical marijuana does become a widely accepted treatment, this company - while already growing throughout California and even into Canada - is primed to take full advantage of the market.

- The company is demonstrating commitment to validating itself in the general market place, in part by under taking the necessary efforts to list the stock on the bulletin boards vice the pink sheets. This move is undoubtedly a precursor to a desired listing on a major exchange - although a move like that could still be a long ways off.

Because of the above reasons I consider an investment in MJNA a good risk/reward play for the future, but I wouldn't go crazy buying just yet. While the stars look to be slowly aligning for medicinal marijuana use, there's no guarantee that it will gain traction in the national market and California alone will not be enough to support signficant growth, in my opinion. Remember - there are still a whole lot of puritans in this country that will fight this tooth and nail.

That being said, I'm a fan of buying a few shares now - because this is the ground floor if the company and it's product do gain traction - with the intent of buying on the dips.

You never know which way the wind blows in national politics, and all it will take to send shares of MJNA flying is an indication that medicinal marijuana use is being looked at as the real deal and not just a punch line for some Cheech & Chong jokes.

It could be worth buying a few shares now with the intent of holding for the long term and seeing what happens. The investment could turn into nothing if society decides not to accept marijuana use for medicinal purposes, but on the other hand, this company has the foothold if the idea takes off.

Disclosure: No positions.

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NEOL.pk: From Alejandro:

Hello VFC, I don´t want to be annoying, but if you could tell me your thoughts (VFC smell test) about this new share (NEOL) that I have bought, I would be very thankful. I have been watching it for a while and doing my DD, and I think it has a big potential to be a hit.
Thanks in advance! and I wish you had a good time with your family.
Ale


VFC's Take: First of all, sharing a stock tip with other potential investors is anything but annoying. Various opinions and insights form the basis of sound investments - even while speculating.

As for the NeoPharm (NEOL) stock, I'll admit that - because of the fact that it trades for a quarter, is loaded with potential and is flying under the radar - it passes the VFC 'smell test' as a worthwhile risk/reward play.

For the cost of a good night out on the town a small investor can purchase a thousand or so shares of this company - which has various cancer-treating products in early stages of development - and be handsomely rewarded if any of the pipeline candidates makes it to late stage trials. On the other hand, if the products fail and you lose the investment - you've only lost a night out but saved a hangover, and maybe a few liver and brain cells that are then free to be destroyed at a later date.

In addition to the cancer-fighting pipeline, the company has early stage products that would treat various brain ailments, pulmonary fibrosis and asthma.

For the risk of a quarter per share, NEOL has the potential to be a winner.

However - while the risk/reward looks good with this one, it's also important to keep a sceptical eye. It's still a speculative play and the company has been around for some time without producing results as of yet.

Go play, but make sure you spread your investments around - don't put all the eggs in the NEOL basket.

Disclosure: No position.

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Monday's Briefs: As the Market Drops, It's Time to Add

As the market dropped nearly 200 points on Monday, the time was ripe for investors to eyeball their 'Watch Lists' for bargains.

Personally, I suggest accumulating shares of any stock that has dropped to your 'buy price', but I'd also keep a little bit of cash on the sidelines just in case the market slides for a little while - as many have predicted - and the DOW dips below 9,000 again. I'm not in the boat with those that predict a drop to the March lows, nor do I believe that the market will rush towards DOW 10,000, but a drop to the 8,500 area is likely, in my opinion.

If that's the case then there's sure to be bargains out there and the small investor will have a good chance to average down on their positions - or average up for lower prices, as would be the case for those that accumulated CSUH, AGEN and ONTY (for example) while they traded for dirt cheap earlier this year.

Speaking of AGEN and ONTY, both were very attractice buys on Monday while trading for below $2 and below $5, respectively, and in both cases I think that investors will be hugely rewarded in the mid to long term. Keep in mind, there is still huge risk involved with both investments, but the survivability data that Oncophage and Stimuvax are racking up is comparable, at least, to that of Provenge and both stocks could turn into another Dendreon story. Investors who were waiting for a good entry point for these stocks got a good deal on Monday - and if they drop even lower, then I'd call it a great entry point.

As for Dendreon (DNDN), the stock looked like a great buy as it dropped to just over $21 on Monday morning, before recovering to over $22 in afternoon trading. News on an FDA decision regarding Provenge approval is drawing nearer and that news, combined with any partnership news, could send DNDN soaring once again. Monday morning's trading offered another good opportunity for investors to start a position in DNDN, but for those looking for a less-risky alternative that holds just as much potential, I suggest a look at AGEN and ONTY, as I describe here.

Shares of Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA) also took a huge dip to the mid $12 ranger during early trading on Monday before recovering to over $13 later in the day. Regardless of the fairly signficant dip that appeared as a good entry point into the stock, I still like TTNP.pk as a better buy, although that stock traded up for most of the day.

CSUH.ob looks to have entered the 'buy territory' for some investors as volume and buying picked up the closer the stock dropped to the mid forty cent level on Monday. Those who may have been drawn to the stock by recent press releases, such as the sponsorship of the Florida Panthers, were offered a decent price to buy shares of the company that produces the world's first calorie burning beverage. Celsius, in my opinion, is a marketing campaign away from mainstream, in my opinion, and a buy in the forty cent range could soon look like a bargain.

Shares of Marvel Enterprises (MVL) also dropped nearly a dollar on the day, and although I love the future of this company - especially since they now reap much of the rewards for their movies - but I'll hold off on the buy until/if the stock drops to below $35. I still consider this a great pick for the IRA or for the kids' portfolio of the future. It's definitely a tempting buy with the fairly big drop on Monday.

As much as I'd love to add more shares of BioElectronics (BIEL.pk) to my portfolio for under five cents, I think I'll have to settle for adding at between seven and eight cents. In my opinion, this company and it's products have the potential to 'hit it big', especially with the recent heat coming down on Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and narcotic pain medications of late. If ActiPatch and associated products take off on the global market as they could, then those who bought for below ten cents will be laughing all the way to a beach house in a few years from now, in my opinion.

Also of note, shares of Insmed (INSM) dipped below ninety cents after the stock had succesfully held that level for some time. Speculation on the future of the IPLEX program has been rampant lately, but the company's stock may have just entered buy territory again. I've sold 2/3 of my position while it was at a dollar, but if the stock drops lower than where it is now, I may buy those shares back. In my opinion, we haven't seen the end of Insmed - and especially not of IPLEX.

A ho-hum trading day was great for some accumulation, let's see what tomorrow brings; if the market continues to drop - then the buying opportunities open up.

Disclosure: VFC is long all stocks mentioned, aside from DNDN and MVL of which I have no positions.

Readers' Picks: XOMA, CRIS, BBI, LIZ, AMFI, EGT

I have received a number of requests via email or comments asking for 'VFC's Take' on numerous stocks that readers of have found. I'll do my best to address as many as I can, as long as everyone keeps in mind a few things:

- I have not thoroughly researched all of the stocks that I'm about to comment on. I've done the initial DD but my opinions are mostly based on my first impressions of the stock. I'm merely providing VFC's Take, as requested. Use that as a starting point to do your own DD.

- Don't get testy if I don't like your stock. Remember, this is just my initial impression and I take into consideration some variables that other people don't, that's why VFC's Take is not always the mainstream impression.

- I appreciate all the recent feedback, and keep the stock tips coming; this is a great forum for all investors of all levels to share tips and insights. There's a whole lot of stocks out there, but there's only a few gems. Let's keep trying to find those gems.

XOMA:

Hello,
Any thoughts long term for either CRIS or XOMA.
Thanks
Virginia


Xoma Ltd., according to the company's website, "discovers, develops and manufactures therapeutic antibodies designed to treat inflammatory, autoimmune, infectious and oncological diseases."

The stock has traded all over the place over the past 12 months, reaching a 52-week high of $2.38 and a low of .38 cents in March of this year - in line with the broad market low. However, since that time the stock has more than doubled.

The company has a proprietary pipeline, of which all products are in early stages of development, along with numerous partnership agreements with various big pharma companies that bring in some royalty revenue through various licensing deals.

To date, the company has relied on the revenue from royalties to pay off existing debt to Goldman Sachs.

VFC's Take: Xoma Ltd., based on partnership agreements and the antibody pipeline, is a decent long term speculative play but the company does face significant challenges moving forward. While I wouldn't be surprised to see the stock as much as double in price in the short to mid term, I'm somewhat sceptical of the company's future ability to fully realize revenue potential.

The loss of royalty revenue from RAPTIVA when the drug was pulled from the market put a damper, to say the least, on the company's ability to meet the terms of their GS financing which puts them in the precarious situation of having to continue partnering their proprietary technology to big pharma just to maintain current operations; or another alternative would be to not license their products but that would require additional financing - which would most likely lead to dilution.

The company's most advanced proprietary product, XOMA 052 has thus far been shown to be safe and effective in two Phase I trials and the successful advancement of this product, in my opinion, is crucial to the company's ability to become profitable.

For the time being, Xoma Ltd. looks to be strictly a supply cabinet for large pharma and a revenue stream (in the form of financing re-payment) for Goldman Sachs.

Also of note, the company will most likely reap higher royalties from CIMZIA sales since that drug has been recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. This could help offset the loss of revenue from RAPTIVA.

If you're already in this one, there's nothing wrong with holding for news, but I'd sell a few shares on any significant spikes with the hope of buying back in lower.

If you're just now looking to get in, I'd wait and see if the price drops lower as it looks like the market might dip for a little bit which could create a situation where investors will receive discounts on stocks that were on the watch list.

Disclosure: No positions.



CRIS: Curis is an early stage drug development company that is developing small molecule treatments for various cancer types.

VFC's Take: In short, I like the long term potential of CRIS as a stock to accumulate now in anticipation of news developing within the next couple of years.

The most immediate impact to the stock price will be updates on the three Phase II trials being conducted by Genentech, Curis' developmental partner for GDC-0449. Curis also has two additional products in it's own proprietary pipeline in earlier stages of development.

Since all trials are still in Phase II, an investment in CRIS would be with the intention of averaging down now and holding for the long term (2 yrs or more, in my opinion) - a decent strategy for a small investor not looking to take too much of a capital gains hit. I've got PCYC and KERX in my portfolio for similar reasons.

That being said, however, I think that AGEN is a better buy right now while trading for just seventy cents more than CRIS. AGEN is another cancer play, but one with a more immediate chance of rewarding investors. If AGEN were to spike, which I believe it could, then those gains could then be turned around into longer term picks such as CRIS. That's assuming that AGEN meets it's short term potential.

CRIS has generally moved with the market of late - if you're already in, average down. If you're not, I'd consider putting some money into something a little bit closer to a payoff because i think CRIS is at least a year or two off from returning any huge percentage gains - if those gains do, in fact, materialize.

There's still a few long term speculative plays that continue to trade for under a buck (PPHM) that I would buy before CRIS. But I emphasize - this is only my opinion and I haven't done deep digging.

Disclosure: No Positions.

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VFC,

I have several stocks, and I'd like to get your opinion on them, if you have time. IMO, they've hit the bottom, and it's time for them to move up.

AMFI - Amcore Financial
EGT - Elexir Gaming Technologies
LIZ - Liz Claiborne
BBI - Blockbuster

Thanks.


BBI: Shares of Blockbuster have traded with volatility over the past year as it's rental business has continued to decline amid vast restructuring and cost-cutting by the company. The most recent quarterly report confirmed the downtrend in the movie/games rental business.

VFC's Take: Until I see a drastic change in business plan I remain very sceptical about this company's ability to survive. In my opinion, Blockbuster is the GM of the DVD rental/sales and gaming sector - a company that, once making it to the top, lacked the vision and innovation to remain there and unwittingly assumed that the customer would continue to be satisfied with the status quo.

Blockbuster is light years behind Netflix and Red Box in the movie rental market - still Blockbuster's #1 business plan - and with everyone and their brother (Apple, Amazon, Verizon, etc.) offering movie downloads or Video-on-Deman, I really don't see how Blaockbuster can retain a foothold in a market that it has lost; unless the company comes up with an innovative strategy that offers a service or a product that no one else does.

BBI could be a nice trading stock because of the volatility and fourth quarter results should look good every year (if the company survives) because of product sales (not rentals) as consumers look for convenient Christmas gifts, but as a long term investment BBI still doesn't pass the VFC smell test.

There's too much competition for the company to overcome as they've sat idly by for years while Netflix and Red Box pretty much made them irrelevant.



Netflix, Inc.

LIZ: Liz Clairborne, Inc. continues to take a beating both on the stock market and in product sales as the economy continues sluggishly along.

Second quarter numbers were worse than expected for the clothing and accessories retailer/supplier and executives have promised additional cost-cutting measures that will cut another $100 million off the books.

VFC's Take: I can buy into LIZ as a recovery story. Unlike other retailers, such as Nordstrom (JWN), LIZ continues to linger at the bottom of the market anxiously awaiting a solid economic turnaround.

I believe that once the economy does look to be on a solid rebound and people are getting jobs instead of losing them, retailers such as Liz will benefit from people once again flocking to the stores.

I'm a fan of buying at the bottom - while many investors are too afraid to jump in - and I think that LIZ, while trading near it's 52-week low is a pretty good economic recovery pick. You want to be in before the run starts, not after.

Disclosure: No positions.

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AMFI: Again, I can buy into Amcore Financial as a good turnaround story.

Shares of the company are already up signficantly off their low of fifty five cents, but after the recent sale of two branches, the raising of additional capital and JP Morgan Chase giving the company a waiver on some debt due terms, Amcore is in a decent position to gear towards profitability.

My financial sector turnaround money is in the XLF ETF and Citi Group (C), but I think that AMFI could also serve as a decent pick to benefit from a financial sector turnaround.

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EGT: Shares of Elexir Gaming Tech are up huge after hitting a 52-week low of about one cent, but if the company is able to continue to build it's distribution base of revenue-sharing games and software, then the stock has room to grow.

By the dips and average down, if possible, and watch the news - it's possible that the company can turn profitable by year's end. A double from the teens is likely if that scenario plays out.

EGT is a poor man's CRYP, in my opinion - although CRYP is less speculative and has a much larger market potential.

Disclosure: No position in EGT, long CRYP.

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