April 20, 2020 8:35am

Back to the old saying of historical and seasonal pattern of “sell in May and go away” or as I say – play away in the peaks and valleys of rotation!

News: Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS), Precigen (PGEN) and Verastem (VSTM)

Pre-open indications: 2 SELLs followed by weakness

Sector intel, ideas, fact-based opinions and Insight in a volatile climate; check the BOTTOM LINE and profit from RMi’s analysis!

Dow future are DOWN -2.02% (-487 points), S&P futures are DOWN -1.91% (-55 points) and NASDAQ futures are DOWN -0.89% (-79 points)


U.S. stock futures traded lower as investors weighed the latest coronavirus news along with a sharp decline in U.S. crude prices;

  • A key benchmark of US oil prices plunged to a 21-year low on Monday, amid continued fears about oversupply in the market;
  • Refineries don’t need the oil and are near storage capacity with most of the country shut down.

European stocks edged lower global coronavirus developments and a sharp fall in U.S. oil prices were in focus as the pan-European Stoxx 600 pared gains to dip -0.2% lower;

Asia Pacific stocks were mixed as China cuts lending (loan prime) rates; Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia declined while Mainland China, Shanghai were up as the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.66%.


Data docket: economic data out of Europe on Monday showed that the euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world grew to 23 billion euros ($25.1 billion) in February, up from 18.5 billion euros a year before.



Why look for answers as all we have are questions … as we crave explanations of Coronavirus developments current effects and future conditions re our economy.

Last week, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose more than 2% which also put those same indexes more than 30% above their intraday lows set on March 23.

The effects of the corona, COHID-19, Wuhan virus is wearing thin on many Americans as we ponder the effects of quarantine, possible death, isolation, supply chains and the closure of our economy – the reality is the gap/divide between being pessimistic or optimism.

Last week’s market came off its first back-to-back gain in more than two months. Markets got a charge after a report of remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences (GILD) drug last week alleged patients with severe virus symptoms were quickly recovering after its injection.

The issue is testing and we are NOT prepared as multiple approaches, such as plasma and antibody tools so far are fraught with issues of whether they work or not.

Friday’s volume was THIN, Thursday was LEAN, Wednesday was LOW, Tuesday was LACKLUSTER and Monday was even LOWER.

Percentage (%) of the upside versus decliners edged on Friday – 29/6, Thursday’s 14/20, Wednesday’s 6/29, Tuesday’s 31/4 and last Monday’s 16/19.

Thus, I do NOT TRUST ANY upside/inclines as they alternate (real words – stripped of value by algorithms and electronics) too, too frequently!



The BOTTOM LINE: it’s all timing of the re-opening of businesses and letting Americans go back to work and testing for the virus

A message and words of wisdom to certain companies, real leaders remember that the lawyers work for them, not the other way around. If it were up to the company lawyers, nobody would ever do anything and when they give you the wrong advice - investors suffer and then stay away!

As James Baldwin once put it, “the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”


Friday night’s title: “: sector stocks stumbled 3 times this week, then wrestled to win with a sentiment comeback. How sustainable is this comeback and for how long until the soulless algorithms exact their toll to skim “the vig, vigorish or juice” of the sector’s incline?”

  • the NASDAQ closed UP +117.78 points (+1.38%);
  • the IBB closed up +4.67% and XBI also closed up +5.51%;
  • Friday closed positive at 29/6;
  • the 29-upside were +0.61% (BLCM) to +15.15% (VCEL) while the xx-downside ranged from -1.86% (MESO) to -12.63% (BSTG);
  • 5 out of the 6-downside had higher than the 3-month average volume;
  • 9 out of the 29-upside had higher than the 3-month average volume;


  • April registered 6 negative, 6 positive closes and 1 holiday.


  • March registered 11 negative, 10 positive closes and 1 neutral close.
  • February registered 9 negative, 9 positive closes, 3 vacation days and 1 holiday.
  • January registered 9 negative, 10 positive closes and 2 holidays.


Companies in my headlights – It’s your decision; I provide an idea and context:

SELL into strength:

  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY +$10.76 after Thursday’s +$6.22, Wednesday’s +$1.06, Tuesday’s +$1.71 and last Monday’s +$2.63);
  • CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP +$1.91 after Thursday’s +$1.12 and Wednesday’s +$1.38);


Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) announced that its partner Roche, also known as Genentech in the United States, has completed enrollment for GENERATION HD1, a global Phase 3 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of tominersen (previously IONIS-HTTRx or RG6042), an investigational antisense therapy for people living with Huntington's disease (HD).

Precigen (PGEN) announced that the US FDA has cleared the IND application to initiate a PI/II trial for PGEN's PRGN-2009, a first-in-class, off-the-shelf (OTS) investigational immunotherapy utilizing the AdenoVerse™ platform designed to activate the immune system to recognize and target HPV+ solid tumors. HPV+ cancers represent a significant health burden in indications such as head and neck, cervical, vaginal and anal cancer. 

Verastem (VSTM) announced that management will host an investor conference call to discuss the clinical data from the ongoing investigator-initiated study investigating VS-6766, its RAF/MEK inhibitor, in combination with defactinib, its FAK inhibitor, in patients with KRAS mutant advanced solid tumors. The conference call coincides with the presentation of this data at the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting I. The investor conference call is scheduled for Monday, April 27, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. ET.



Opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change, and not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results, nor investment advice.

Whether information or intelligence is good, bad or somewhere in between; I put into context what is relevant and useful for investors.  All investments are subject to risks. Investors should consider investment objectives.

Henry McCusker, the editor and publisher of RegMed Investors does not hold or have positions in securities referred to in this publication.