FDA Nod Sends AVXS to Record High; Plus, Veritone's Comeback

AveXis received permission from the FDA to start testing its spinal muscular atrophy drug

Katie Coburn
Sep 29, 2017 at 2:54 PM
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U.S. stocks are trading mixed this afternoon, with the Nasdaq touching a record high thanks to rallying tech stocks. One tech stock helping the index climb is artificial intelligence (AI) platform maker Veritone Inc (NASDAQ:VERI). Two other stocks trading higher today are smartphone name BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and biotech AveXis Inc (NASDAQ:AVXS). Here's a quick look at what is moving shares of VERI, BBRY, and AVXS.

Veritone Stock Bounces Back After Analyst Nearly Quintuples Price Target

Ranking among the best stocks on the Nasdaq today is Veritone stock, which was up a whopping 22.3% at $44.11, at last check. The tech stock is ticking higher after Roth Capital Partners nearly quintupled its price target on VERI, to $62 from $13 -- representing upside of 68% to Thursday's close of $36.88 -- citing an "unparalleled" growth in business.

It's been a crazy week for the AI stock, which explored a range of nearly 39 points.  VERI hit a record high of $74.92 on Wednesday, then subsequently dropped roughly 50% after Citron Research said the company is "not artificial intelligence, more like natural stupidity" on Twitter. Further, Citron said VERY shares "should trade right back to $20." Still, both analysts following the stock -- which went public in May -- rate it a "strong buy."

BlackBerry Stock Keeps Barreling Higher

BlackBerry stock is up 7.4% to trade at $11.25, extending yesterday's earnings rally as more analysts weigh in. Today, no fewer than three brokerage firms upped their price targets on the smartphone stock, including MKM Partners ($10), RBC ($10.50), and CIBC ($11).

BlackBerry shares have added nearly 23.5% so far this week -- on pace for their best run since June 2014. Today's jump ranks BBRY as the most active by volume on the Nasdaq, and has shares pacing for their first close above their 20-week moving average since July. Analysts still aren't convinced, however, as all but one of the seven following BBRY rate it a "hold" or worse -- leaving the door wide open for additional bullish brokerage notes.

AveXis Stock Soars on FDA Nod

A third stock climbing the charts this afternoon is AveXis stock, last seen trading 8.6% higher at $100.13, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the company permission to conduct a pivotal trial for its spinal muscular atrophy drug, AVXS-101. AVXS shares hit a record high of $101.25 earlier, and are pacing for their best day since March.

AVXS stock has now doubled in 2017. A short squeeze could propel the biotech stock even higher, as short interest on AVXS accounts for 27.3% of the stock's total available float. At the equity's average daily trading volume, it would take more than two weeks to cover these shorted shares.


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