Whoa! These Stocks Outpaced the Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 90 points on Friday -- the exact amount it fell the day before -- on hopes that a deal between the European Union and Cyprus would get hammered out that wouldn't lead to a messy divorce. I don't find much comfort in the agreement that did get worked out over the weekend, of taking the cash out of individual depositors' accounts because now every country with a shaky financial system -- and that seemingly includes most of Europe -- will have to worry their funds could be subject to a seizure as well and they could start a run on the banks. I know I wouldn't be leaving my money in one.

The three stocks below however were far removed from the scene of international intrigue rising on their own merits. Yet resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won't celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could just as quickly make the return trip down.

Company

% Gain

Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO  )

30.9%

Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU  )

10.7%

Nike (NYSE: NKE  )

11.1%

Advise and consent
It's not quite the same as the European medical regulators themselves giving Halozyme Therapeutics its stamp of approval, but their advisory board's endorsement of HyQvia was enough to send the stock soaring. That's no guarantee of full approval and it should be remembered that last year the FDA rejected the drug.

HyQvia -- which was rebranded from its previous HyQ moniker -- is a combination of Baxter's (NYSE: BAX  ) Gammagard and Halozyme's rHuPH20, which allows the drug to be injected subcutaneously, and the FDA worried about possible effects it might create on reproduction, development and fertility. The agency went so far as to request patients no longer be dosed with rHuPH20 in the Baxter HyQ program until they're given additional preclinical data sufficient to address their concerns. The FDA is also closely monitoring Halozyme's collaboration with ViroPharma on Cinryze.

Halozyme's rHuPH20 has a lot of potential, and despite the setbacks, it's still attracting partners as evidence by the deal it signed with Pfizer in December. But like the relationship between the FDA and its advisory panels, there are no requirements the EMA follow the endorsement Halozyme and Baxter just received, and this could mean the stock could plunge once again.

All good things must end
Despite wider-than-anticipated losses in the quarter, sales at Micron Technology jumped 3% to $2.1 billion -- well above the $1.9 billion Wall Street expected -- and analysts now believe the memory chipmaker will be profitable by the end of 2013.

Because of lower production costs and higher memory chip shipments (partially offset by lower selling prices), Micron recorded much better than expected margins. Gross margins jumped to 17.6% in the quarter, up from 10.5% a year ago, while operating margin losses were sliced to just 1.1% from 10.2%.

As the Fool's Sean Williams points out, the cyclicality of the chip business means the time for buying Micron's shares is actually drawing to a close soon. Because the chipmaker feels supply imbalance issues are waning along with encroaching profitability, it heralds a high water mark for the stock. You typically buy them when nobody wants them and with the shares having nearly doubled off their 52-week low, the growth is getting a little long in the tooth. It might tack on a few more percentage points in gains, but we're probably getting towards the end of this bull run.

Winged feet
A strong earnings report was also the reason behind Nike being fleet of foot in the market on Friday. Despite a slowdown in China and Japan, the sneaker maker saw its Nike brand record better than 10% growth everywhere else in the world.

North America, where Nike has been focusing much of its attention on generating a rebound, responded with an 18% jump in sales as footwear sales surged to $1.7 billion, with even Europe's troubled economy enjoying double-digit increases. By playing to its strengths of its eponymous brand and having sold off its underperforming Umbro and Cole Haan divisions, Nike effectively put to rest doubts about its ability to still compete against younger, smaller rivals.

Once again, the sneaker maker has made a difficult play look no harder than an easy lay up.

Another soaring stock for your consideration
Every in-the-know biotech investor has an eye on Celgene. Shares have skyrocketed this year as the company outlined a plan to almost triple its profits in only a few years. But should you buy the story Celgene is selling? Make sure you understand the key opportunities and risks facing this company by picking up The Motley Fool's brand new premium report on Celgene. To claim your copy today simply click here now.

 


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  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2013, at 5:02 PM, GuthrieC15 wrote:

    After reading the conference call over earnings for Micron do you not think things are going their way now? Elpida acquisition, the Innoterra agreement, improving margins even with slugging PCs, improving and stabilizing memory prices, not to mention the decreasing major competition. The memory industry is going to be more and more controlled by three players; Samsung, Hynix and Micron (assuming Elpida goes through which looks likely) This will add to a huge increase in the way prices are set which is even further encouragement for Micron. Just wanted to pick your brain on these things, thanks for the article. Theirs gotta be good reason for major analysts to put PT's of $12-15 on Micron.

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