Stocks remained relatively close to the unchanged level on Wednesday, pausing after two straight days of strong gains. Technically, the Dow and S&P 500 rose to new records, but in general, investors seemed content to tread water after the sharp gains that have taken the S&P up by more than 7% since the Brexit-induced decline late last month. As U.K. Prime Minster Theresa May takes office, the hope is that issues in Europe will calm down and support the generally positive tone that has prevailed in the U.S. recently. In addition, the likely retreat by the Fed from interest rate hikes should help stocks as well.
Juno gets a green light
Juno Therapeutics climbed 9% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided late Tuesday to lift a clinical hold on one of its key cancer trials. Juno said the so-called Rocket trial for its JCAR015 compound for adult patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia will now be able to go forward, although the company said it would continue enrollment using the drug with only cyclophosphamide pre-conditioning. Deaths connected with the trial initially spurred the clinical hold, and Juno believed a different pre-conditioning agent called fludarabine might have been to blame, so the protocols were changed to eliminate it as an option. Most investors expected the FDA to take longer to let Juno go forward, so the quick action could bring JCAR015 to market sooner than expected if it can eventually gain FDA approval.
Imprivata to go private
Imprivata jumped more than 30% in the wake of receiving a buyout offer from a private equity investor. The healthcare information technology security specialist said it agreed to a bid from Thoma Bravo, valuing the company at $544 million. Under the deal, Imprivata shareholders will receive $19.25 per share in cash. As Imprivata CEO Omar Hussain explained, "today's partnership is an endorsement of Imprivata's corporate vision and our relentless focus on the customer experience." Hussain believes that after the deal, Imprivata will be "in a stronger position to pursue market opportunities through innovating and expanding the products and services we offer." Unfortunately, shareholders won't have the ability to share in any future success Imprivata has.
Nokia ramps up its patent cross-licensing
Finally, Nokia gained 5%. The technology company said it has agreed to an expanded patent cross-licensing agreement with partner Samsung to cover additional intellectual property the two companies currently own. By reaching the agreement, Nokia believes the new agreement will boost its leadership in programmable technology, and the company also expects a positive impact to revenue beginning with its third-quarter report. Nokia now believes it can grow its annualized net sales related to patent and brand licensing to 950 million euros by the end of 2016, and the executive in charge of the unit believes the expanded agreement only accents the "wealth of technology relevant to mobile devices and beyond."