Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Stocks On the Move: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ITT Educational Services, Inc., and Pike Corp

BCRX, ESI, and PIKE are moving sharply in Monday's trading

by 8/4/2014 11:54 AM
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U.S. stocks are dancing around breakeven today, as Wall Street catches its collective breath after suffering the worst week in years. Among the names making notable moves are drug maker BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX), for-profit education issue ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI), and construction concern Pike Corp (NYSE:PIKE). Here's a quick look at how BCRX, ESI, and PIKE are faring on the charts today.

  • BCRX is 5.3% higher at $13.20, after earlier notching a new eight-year high of $13.53. The company is slated to report second-quarter earnings bright and early tomorrow, and analysts are optimistic heading into the event. In fact, seven out of nine brokerage firms deem BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. worthy of a "buy" or better rating. Outside of the analyst community, however, sentiment isn't so rosy. Short interest skyrocketed nearly 53% during the past two reporting periods, and now represents nine sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average pace of trading. Should BCRX report stronger-than-expected figures tomorrow, a short-squeeze situation could propel the shares even higher.

  • ESI was last seen 31.4% lower at $9.82, and touched a decade-plus low of $9.75 earlier today, after the company said its plan to sell some colleges to College Portfolio Buyer LLC fell apart. Most of Wall Street is already in the bearish camp of beleaguered ITT Educational Services, Inc., which is in danger of losing federal funding. Just three out of 11 analysts offer up "strong buy" opinions, and short interest accounts for a massive 74% of the stock's total available float. In fact, it would take roughly a month to repurchase all the shorted ESI shares, at the equity's average daily trading volume.

  • PIKE has skyrocketed 49% to $11.85, amid news that Court Square Capital Partners and PIKE CEO J. Eric Pike will take the company private. The deal values Pike Corporation shares at roughly $12 apiece, making any upside beyond that point unlikely. Prior to today, PIKE wasn't faring so well on the charts; the stock was lingering in annual-low territory south of $8 on Friday.

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