It looks like this week will prove to be one of the worst for stock market investors in some time, as Friday's trading session brought steep losses to major market benchmarks yet again. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -1.87%) was down nearly 2% in early afternoon trading, bringing its total decline for the week to roughly 7%.
However, a couple of Nasdaq stocks bucked that downtrend and posted sizable gains. Below, you'll learn more about why Appian (APPN -5.03%) and Alaunos Therapeutics (TCRT -0.93%) were near the top of the performance list at the Nasdaq on Friday.
Appian defends its win
Shares of Appian were up by nearly 5% in early afternoon trading on Friday. The low-code application development platform provider has seen its stock struggle over much of the past year, but a favorable decision from a state court judge helped it preserve a key victory in a past legal battle.
Appian had been in a long legal dispute with Pegasystems (PEGA -1.04%) over alleged violations of intellectual property rights related to trade secrets. In May, a jury in Virginia state court awarded a massive $2.036 billion judgment to Appian. Pegasystems wanted the judge in the case to set aside that jury verdict, arguing that it was excessive and not supported by the facts or the law.
The judge, however, chose to uphold the verdict, entering final judgment confirming the $2.036 billion award Friday. Appian shareholders applauded the move, bringing the company one step closer to potentially collecting that payout.
However, shareholders shouldn't start counting the money just yet. Pegasystems has filed a notice of appeal, and during any pending proceedings, Appian will have to wait to collect. This litigation could take years to reach a final conclusion. That said, the terms of the judgment give Appian 6% interest annually on the judgment, so if the jury's award does survive the appellate court process, the final number the software company receives could be even larger.
Appian's market capitalization is just $3.6 billion, so a $2 billion award is a big deal. Unfortunately, the realities of the U.S. legal system make it unlikely that Appian shareholders will see any quick resolution unless Pegasystems seeks to settle on more favorable terms in the software company's view.
Alaunos bounces back
Shares of small biotech company Alaunos Therapeutics rose 20% on Friday. That might sound good, except that the stock had plunged by roughly half the previous day.
Investors have been closely following the phase 1/2 clinical trial that Alaunos has been conducting for its T-cell receptor therapy. Data released earlier this month showed encouraging results early in the study. However, new information about one of the patients in the study called into question the efficacy of the treatment, prompting Thursday's big share price drop.
The main problem is that investors will likely have to wait until the end of September to get more definitive information about the trial. Alaunos plans to present its data formally at an industry conference on Sept. 30, and both bulls and bears on the biotech stock hope to get more information about exactly what has happened with the trial's patient participants.
Shares of Alaunos lost 90% of their value from early 2021 to mid-2022, but in June, they began to head higher -- a pattern that persisted up until this latest data release. Investors can expect more volatility in both directions as new information comes out and the market is able to better evaluate the likelihood of Alaunos' treatment becoming a viable option for cancer patients.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Pegasystems had filed an actual appeal rather than merely a notice of appeal. The author and the Fool regret the error.