Companies featured in this edition of the newsletter: NWCI, PSID, XCR, XSNX
Markets sailed to fresh highs for ’09 during this holiday shortened week, largely on the strength of better than expected data from the housing sector and news that labor markets had shed their lowest number of jobs since the fall of 2008, which helped lead all the major indices into positive territory after consecutive weeks of mixed finishes. All told, the Dow ended the week up 1.9%, gaining 191 points to close at 10520, extending its yearly gains to 19.9%. The Nasdaq posted a strong 3.3% gain on the week, closing at 2285, up 44.9% on the year, while the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 managed to end the week up 2.2% and 3.8% respectively, extending their YTD gains to 24.7% and 27.0%.
With a lack of significant corporate catalysts on the calendar due to the holiday shortened week, economic data was squarely in focus and provided some encouraging news in the form of better than expected existing home sales and a drop in weekly initial jobless claims. The drop in weekly claims from 480,000 the prior week to 450,000 this week, versus consensus estimates calling for 470,000, marked the number’s lowest level since the fall of 2008, and suggests that despite the continued weakness still displayed in labor markets, that they are in fact stabilizing.
Despite the unequivocally positive news extrapolated from the drop in weekly jobless claims, data from housing markets were decidedly mixed, as existing and new home sales came in at opposite ends of the spectrum. Existing home sales rose by a better than expected 7.4% for the month, but were offset by an 11.3% drop in new home sales from November. Investors seemed to focus in on the positive existing home sales however, and the less than stellar new home sales failed to provoke much of a reaction.
What should investors look for this week? There will be no notable earnings releases or conferences scheduled due to the holiday shortened week, but there will be a few pieces of economic data released, beginning on Tuesday with Consumer Confidence for December due out at 10:00am. On Wednesday look for Chicago PMI for December at 9:45am, and weekly crude inventories at 10:30am, followed on Thursday by weekly initial jobless claims and continuing claims at 8:30am.
PositiveID Corp. (NASDAQ: PSID), a provider of unique health and security identification tools to protect consumers and businesses, announced last week that it has entered into a strategic partnership with HealthScreenDirect (HSD), to create a comparative clinical study that will seek to address improving disease management through the use of appropriate, concise, and up-to-date patient health information available to practitioners caring for diabetic, hypertensive and obese patients utilizing PSID’s Health Link electronic medical record system; Health Link will also be offered to the 120,000 plus members of the HSD service. HSD provides millions of Americans direct access to diabetes and cholesterol screenings and educational content. These important health screenings are offered through a convenient process at nationally recognized, certified labs that provide confidential results for the patient through HSD’s secure web site and by mail. HSD also provides a more comprehensive wellness program for corporations, associations and organizations across America, which includes onsite health screenings and testing for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. PSID management expects that forging additional partnerships with organizations similar to HSD who represent large patient populations will enable them to cost effectively extend the reach of their Health Link personal record system. Shares gained just under four cents on the week to close at $0.979
NewCardio (OTCBB: NWCI), a cardiac diagnostic and services company, announced last week that its Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ihor Gussak, will be presenting at the 4th Annual Cardiac Safety Assessment Summit being held in Washington DC on January 12 and 13, 2010. NewCardio will also be one of the sponsors of the event, which will feature discussions on how to measure and manage cardiac safety issues such as Arrhythmia, Ischemic Heart Disease, Cardiomyopothy and drugs that effect heart rate and blood pressure. Dr. Gussak will participate in a panel discussion on the Clinical Validation of Automated ECG Reading Methods, where he will discuss NewCardio’s technology platform, including QTinno, the company’s automated cardiac safety solution which was recently demonstrated to provide highly accurate results with reduced intrinsic variability relative to currently used diagnostic methods in clinical validation studies. Shares lost ten cents on the week to close at $0.65.
XsunX (OTCBB: XSNX), a developer of advanced, thin-film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar cell technologies and manufacturing processes, released a letter to shareholders last week, announcing the completion of its first fully functional CIGS thin film solar device. The announcement marks a significant milestone in the company’s technological development process, as the production of a fully functional device serves to validate its revolutionary manufacturing process incorporating equipment from the Hard Disk Drive manufacturing process to develop a scalable, cost effective method of producing high performance thin film solar cells. Management believes that reaching this milestone ahead of its previously announced year-end deadline further strengthens its position and will allow it to more ably benefit from the tremendous growth anticipated in the thin-film photovoltaic market over the next decade. Shares gained a penny on the week to close at $0.16.
Xcorporeal, Inc. (OTC: XCRP), a development stage medical device company that is developing an extra-corporeal platform of products that might be used in devices to replace the function of various human organs, announced last week that it has signed an asset purchase agreement with National Quality Care and Fresenius USA, to sell substantially all of its assets for an aggregate cash purchase price of $8 million, in addition to certain additional royalty payments relating to the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) and supersorbent technology due to XCR for the remainder of the life of the company’s relevant patents on the devices. The purchase price is payable in three installments and is expected to close on or before February 28, 2010 subject to approval by a majority of XCR shareholders. Management has expressed its satisfaction with the transaction, as it feels that Fresenius is the best possible partner for its innovative dialysis platform, and expects that the terms of the agreement represent the best approach to maximizing shareholder value. Shares gained just under three cents on the week to close at $0.10.