BlackBerry Stock Nabs New High After Baidu Self-Driving Tech Deal

SGMO and PFE also announced a collaborative partnership

Jan 3, 2018 at 2:24 PM
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As the U.S. stock market carves out record highs, several individual equities are making big moves on high-profile collaborative partnerships. Two such names are former smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB) and gene therapy specialist Sangamo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SGMO). Here's a closer look at what has shares of BB and SGMO gapping higher today.

BlackBerry Shorts Could Continue Covering

BlackBerry stock was last seen up 7.6% to trade at $12.92 -- fresh off a three-year high of $13.31 -- after the Ontario-based firm said it will partner with Chinese internet name Baidu (BIDU) to develop self-driving automotive technology. More specifically, BIDU will incorporate BB's QNX vehicle operating software into its Apollo autonomous car system.

Heading into today's trading, BB stock had already turned in an impressive performance on the charts, surging 62.1% in 2017. More recently, the shares gapped above long-term resistance in the $11.40-$11.70 range, thanks to a positive earnings reaction -- and this former ceiling now appears have switched to a more supportive role.

BlackBerry's sharp move higher has certainly caught short sellers off guard. Short interest declined 6.9% in the most reporting period to 43.53 million shares. It would still take more than 13 days to cover these remaining bearish bets, though, so an extended round of short covering could have BB shares hitting higher highs.

Sangamo, Pfizer Team Up to Tackle ALS

Sangamo Therapeutics and Pfizer (PFE) said they will team up to create a gene therapy treatment for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The deal includes an initial $12 million payment to SGMO from PFE and additional milestone payments totaling $150 million.

SGMO stock jumped to a new annual high of $16.70 earlier, but was last seen trading down 0.5% at $17.45. The shares have been in a channel of higher highs and lows after the company's gene-editing breakthrough sparked a bounce of their 100-day moving average in early November. Longer term, Sangamo stock has surged more than 469% over the past 12 months.

Short sellers could help keep the wind at the security's back. Though short interest fell 8.5% in the most recent two-week reporting period, the 7.7 million shares still sold short represent more than four times SGMO's average daily pace of trading.

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