February 17, 2021 7:42am

As I usually maintain caution or circumspection as to risk.

Pre-open indication: 4 BUYs and 5 SELLs

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Dow futures are UP +0.01% (+3 points), S&P futures are DOWN -0.03% (-1.25 points) and NASDAQ futures are DOWN -0.19% (-26 points)


U.S. stock index futures are flat, down and fluctuating;

European stocks retreated as the pan-European Stoxx 600 slid 0.4% in early trade;

Asia-Pacific stocks were lower as markets in mainland China remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.


Data Docket: retails sales are released at 8:30 a.m. ET; economists are expecting sales to be up 1.2% for the month, following an unexpected decline of 0.7% in December. Also, mortgage demand falls further as rates rise at the fastest pace in months



Morning futures can not be nailed down as to any one direction …

I believe the “risk-on” scenario is upon us as volatility curtails any whiff of sustaining sector action.

Still NO fiscal aid, the long bond market is in uncharted territory …

  • “The 30-year rate also hit its highest level in a year. Some … believe higher rates could prompt investors to rotate out of equities and into bonds, while also putting pressure on areas of the market, including tech, which have benefitted from the low-rate environment.” <CNBC> 

I further believe it’s a little bit of both – there is yin and yang, it’s also good to hold a balance of fear and negativity as a yardstick.

  • The ubiquitous yin-yang symbol holds its roots in Taoism/Daoism, a Chinese religion and philosophy. The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows and the trough of a wave; the yang, the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth.


Tuesday’s evening’s recap: “volatility, executive removal, trial suspension induced pain to share pricing as AGTC’s explosive upside and CLLS’s collaboration gains finalized last hour moves set-up a declining momentum. As the stem, cell and gene therapy sector runs out of buyers, it also runs into trouble (just like a fire that runs out of wood) especially as earnings’ season ramps-up.” … https://www.regmedinvestors.com/articles/11771

  • The Nasdaq closed DOWN -47.97 points (-0.34%);
  • The IBB closed down -2.17% and XBI closed down -2.53%;
  • Sector volume was LOW with 6 of the 14-upside having higher than the 3-month average volume with the increased volume of 4 of 20-downside having higher than the 3-month average volume;
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VVIX: INDEX) was up +1.49 points or +4.76% at 21.46;
  • Tuesday’s percentage (%) of the 14-upside were +0.07% (ADVM) to +30.58% (AGTC) while the 20-downside ranges from -0.13% (PSTI) to -37.85% (BLUE);

February: 7 positive and 4 negative closes and 1 holiday to date

January: 10 positive, 9 negative closes and 1 holiday


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

Maintaining Sell: Questions continue …

Biostage (BSTG) closed down -$0.03 to $2.09 with 1,243 shares “pumped” following Friday’s flat at $2.12 with 88 shares traded after Thursday’s +$0.30 to $2.12 with 800 shares traded after last Wednesday’s flat at $1.82 with 4,292 shares traded. Reiterating …

Question#1: WHY does a company NEED to “PUMP” a stock if it is operating as a NORMAL public company?

Question#2: WHERE and WHEN is the NEXT financial officer coming, WILL this be number 6 or 7 to hold the position in four (4) years?

Question #3: Is there an “aha” action in the cards in regard to minority investors who are watching and waiting?



Fate Therapeutics (FATE) closed down -$1.01 to $101.44 following Friday’s $102.45, Thursday’s $102.50 and last Wednesday’s $103.31 with a positive +$1.27 or +1.25%.

Mesoblast (MESO) closed down -$0.42 to $10.18 with a positive +$0.57 or +5.60% pre-market indication on news of the Pediatrics (Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) publishing a paper on the first two children treated with Mesoblast’s mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) product candidate remestemcel-L for life-threatening multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.

Verastem Oncology (VSTM) closed up +$0.11 to $2.48 following Friday’s $2.37, Thursday’s $2.38 and last Wednesday’s $2.44with a positive +$0.42 or +16.94%;


SELL into strength:

Applied Genetic Technologies (AGTC) closed up +$1.89 to $8.07 following Friday’s +$0.28, Thursday’s +$0.75 and last Wednesday’s +$0.24 and has a positive +$0.57 or +7.06% pre-market indication;

Caladrius Biosciences (CLBS) closed up +$0.11 to $2.44 following Friday’s -$4.00, Thursday’s +$0.39, Wednesday’s +$0.04 and last Tuesday’s +$0.07) with a positive +$0.06 or +2.46% pre-market indication. After a PPP and RDO, there are a whole lot of shares hitting the float.

Vericel (VCEL) closed up +$0.49 to $51.17 following Friday’s $50.68, Thursday’s $49.23 and last Wednesday’s $48.19 with NO aftermarket indication. VCEL ended 2020 at $30.88, a 52-week change of +167.02%, a 52-week low of $6.78 and a high of $53.98.



CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) closed down -$5.73 to $155.32 following Friday’s +$2.00 to $161.05, Thursday’s $159.05 and last Wednesday’s $160.20 with a negative -$4.93 or -3.17% pre-market indication. After an earnings’ release, CRSP ended Q4 with a net loss of $30.5 million and FY20 net loss of $348.9 million with $1,690.3 million in cash and a 2023 runway.


BUY on bounce-back from 7-year low and SELL on negative news:

bluebird bio (BLUE) closed down -$17.32 to $28.44 following Friday’s -$0.01 to $45.76 and has a positive +$0.77 or +2.71% pre-market indication over Tuesday’s news of placing its P1/2 (HGB-206) and Phase 3 (HGB-210) studies of LentiGlobin gene therapy for sickle cell disease (SCD) (bb1111) on a temporary suspension due to a reported Suspected Unexpected Serious Adverse Reaction (SUSAR) of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In line with the clinical study protocols for HGB-206 and HGB-210, bluebird bio placed the studies on temporary suspension following a report received last week that a patient who was treated more than five years ago in Group A of HGB-206 was diagnosed with AML.


The BOTTOM LINE: Getting nervous as the Nasdaq took a hit -0.34%

Reiterating, “The short-term path to sector equities rolling higher is smaller ... to put it succinctly, earnings’ season seems to disengage buyers to wait for bigger dips pre- and post-releases to buy back into “our’ universe.

It’s STILL all about, the “bouncing ball” of market and sector momentum …

Many talk of horizons; “I said last week, my horizon is usually a Friday’s close …”

Again, “forewarned … earnings LPS (loss-per-share) season is coming quickly – my advice, trim and skim!”


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.