Thursday, March 29, 2007

Friday Curtain Raiser

I spent a great afternoon getting to meet a couple of top notch guys from the blogosphere today in New York City, though blogging is only part of what they do.

There's some important economic data on tap for Friday morning:

-Personal income and spending at 8:30 ET each expected to rise by .3% for February.
-NAPM Chicago is expected to rise to 49, which would still indicate weakness in manufacturing in the Chicago region.
-A 1% drop in construction spending is expected when figures are released at 10.
-Also at 10, the latest on consumer sentiment from the U of Michigan. Its sentiment index expected at 88.8.

Crude oil and tensions in the Middle East will continue to make for volatile markets. Crude is up another .9% tonight rising deeping into $66 territory.

There will be a few interesting movers in the market tomorrow.

Dendreon (DNDN) will explode to the upside on FDA panel backing it received for its Provenge prostate cancer immunotherapy. It's stock was halted today. DNDN's Provenge stimulates the body's immune system to fight prostate cancer and is the first of its kind therapy to receive FDA panel backing. Formal FDA approval is expected before May 15th. The drug was so effective in trials that some test subjects are alive after more than 3 years, though shorts have harped with futility on a missed goal of reducing "time to progression", or advacement of cancer. When it was realized that Provenge achieved the 'gold standard' of extending survival, the treatment was given priority review earlier in the year leading to today's decision. More than 25% of the DNDN's float is sold short; so the combination of a first of its kind cancer treatment making it through the FDA panel and massive short interest should make for interesting trading tomorrow in the stock.

Other biopharmas rallied on the Dendreon news. Cell Genesys (CEGE) jumped 26% in after hours trading, Biomira (BIOM) surged 17%, Genitope (GTOP) rose 16% and Genvec (GVEC) rose nearly 9%. The Dendreon victory today is expected to spur more immunotherapy development as much as that makes the chemo poisoners cringe. What was up with that FDA panel reviewer Harold Sher from Memorial Sloan Kettering today at the panel meeting - simply vile and hateful toward the idea of something that has little in the way of side effect and enables prostate cancer victims to live longer. I can just imagine the guy's bedside, "What! You only vomit 4 times a day, you've still got some hair left and your red blood count is only down 10??!! You need more of our chemo!!"

Will Friday be H&R Block's (HRB) date with destiny? The company had been aiming to sell its OptionOne mortgage division by the end of the quarter.

This gets uglier with each new revelation: Dell finds evidence of misconduct in finance probe.

And the ball is only starting to roll here: REFILE-UPDATE 2-Homebuilder Beazer gets grand jury subpoena

On the mortgage front: Even the million dollar homes are getting hit.

A new definition for DENIAL: Bear Stearns, IndyMac Say Subprime Woes Won't Spread (Update2)

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