Stock markets were mixed on Monday afternoon as investors tried to consider all the crosscurrents on Wall Street right now. It was a great day for the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.55%), however, which was up three-quarters of a percent as of 1:45 p.m. EDT today and challenging its all-time highs.
Two areas that have been supporting the Nasdaq greatly in recent months have been technology and biotech. In the semiconductor space, Skyworks Solutions (SWKS 1.30%) got a big boost today as investors await earnings later this week. Meanwhile, biotech company CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP 2.88%) saw solid gains as it gave an update on its pipeline.
Skyworks Solutions saw its stock rise almost 5% Monday afternoon. The company continued to make progress following favorable news recently.
The good news for Skyworks started last week, when the company announced it would pay $2.75 billion to acquire assets from Silicon Laboratories (SLAB 3.52%). The cash deal will help Skyworks get greater exposure to some areas with high growth potential, particularly the autonomous-vehicle end of the automotive sector. Skyworks expects the acquisition will immediately boost earnings.
Subsequently, a host of analysts weighed in favorably on the move, with B. Riley giving a minimal boost to its price target on Friday. UBS joined in with a price target bump on Monday, although it kept its rating on the stock at neutral.
Skyworks' efforts to diversify its business are important, as it remains dangerously exposed to its agreements with Apple (AAPL 0.68%). That's been problematic for Skyworks stock in the past, and if deals like the Silicon Labs acquisition can help protect the company from the ups and downs of Apple's fortunes, many shareholders would appreciate it.
CRISPR Therapeutics saw its stock do even better, rising almost 7%. Unlike Skyworks, that's still far below its all-time highs, but investors are feeling a little more upbeat about the gene-editing specialist's prospects.
CRISPR announced that it and partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -1.03%) received priority medicines designation from European regulators for its CTX001 gene-edited therapy for treating transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia. CTX001 had previously received similar designation for treating patients suffering from sickle cell disease. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration had already awarded a host of designations to CTX001, including both orphan-drug and fast-track status.
Vertex and CRISPR have been deepening their relationship lately, with provisions that guarantee more money for CRISPR and put more risk on Vertex. Given how much larger Vertex is, that's potentially good for both parties, although it might limit CRISPR's upside.
Many investors are highly optimistic about the prospects that gene-editing technology has to revolutionize healthcare and allow for customized treatments that take specific traits of individual patients into account. CRISPR isn't the only stock in that area, but with the potential for treatments covering a wider range of conditions in the future, the company has plenty of reasons for investors to feel confident about the months and years to come.