2 Penny Stocks at Opposite Ends of the Nasdaq Today

Achieve Life Sciences reported positive data for its smoking cessation drug

Managing Editor
Sep 27, 2018 at 10:10 AM
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Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) stock is down 68.7% to trade at $1.95 -- fresh off a four-year low of $1.50, and the worst stock on the Nasdaq this morning -- after the company said Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) division Janssen will terminate its collaboration for imetelstat, a blood disorder treatment, even as a recent job posting suggested otherwise. The drug program will now be developed by Geron independently, which prompted the firm to raise its 2018 operating expenses outlook by $7 million to $37 million.

Although the stock quickly found itself on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list this morning, short sellers are likely cheering today's collapse. Short interest increased by 6% in the last two reporting periods to 63.43 million shares -- the highest in at least 16 years. This represents nearly 40% of GERN's total available float, and 5.8 times the average daily trading volume.  

Achieve Life Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:ACHV) stock, on the other hand, is up 58.8% to trade at $4.34 this morning -- one of the top stocks on the Nasdaq so far. Driving ACHV higher is news that a new formulation for the company's smoking cessation treatment, cytisine, was successful in a recent study.

This is shaping up to be ACHV's best day since late 2008. Today's rally has the shares slicing through their 40-day moving average, a trendline that kept a tight lid on breakouts in the past four months. Nevertheless, the shares remain 81% lower year-over-year, and hit a record low of $2.40 on Sept. 18.

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