Why Halcon Resources, Bebe Stores, and Akebia Therapeutics Jumped Today

Investors came back from the weekend refreshed after last week's substantial losses, and the stock market bounced back to produce fairly strong gains Monday. Government data showed a sharp rise in retail sales in the U.S. last month, and that translated into gains of almost 1% for major-market benchmarks. For Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK  ) , Bebe Stores (NASDAQ: BEBE  ) , and Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKBA  ) , though, Monday was an even stronger day, with more sizable gains for the three companies.

Photo credit: Flickr/Paul Lowry

Halcon Resources jumped 9%, following in the footsteps of other big players in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale area of Louisiana and Mississippi after Goodrich Petroleum announced extremely encouraging results from one of its wells in the area. With Goodrich showing strong production composed almost entirely of oil rather than natural gas, investors hope that Halcon Resources will see similar success in its own extensive holdings in the region. Given that Halcon's holdings are in the same general vicinity as where the well results were from, it's reasonable to expect the fortunes of both companies to remain tied together for at least the near future.

The 15% gain that Bebe Stores gave shareholders today came after an analyst firm upgraded the women's retail stock and boosted its price target by more than a third. The industry niche claimed another victim when Coldwater Creek declared bankruptcy last week, and Bebe Stores has had trouble with falling sales in a difficult competitive environment. Even though the analyst expects sales to start growing again, Bebe Stores could take a long time to become profitable again, and that could make any rise in the share price somewhat premature.

Akebia Therapeutics soared more than 25% on a topsy-turvy day that included wild swings for the small and newly public biotech stock. Several analysts joined forces to give positive assessments of the company, with one offering a grandiose price target of $90 per share -- more than quintuple its price last week. Yet it's important to note that all three analysts giving Akebia positive ratings were involved in its initial public offering, including the two joint book-running managers and a co-manager for the offering. That doesn't automatically mean that their opinion is biased, but Akebia only has a couple of pipeline prospects and no approved products. With mid-stage trials still ongoing, it could be years before Akebia can even seek FDA approval for its treatments for kidney disease, anemia, and cancer.

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