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Whoa! What Just Happened to My Stock? MannKind Corporation (MNKD), Zynga Inc (ZNGA)

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended last week on a high note, closing up almost 50 points, but that put it at about the same spot where it ended the week before, though slightly below the 14,000-point threshold this time. Based on encouraging trade news for the U.S. and China that saw our trade deficit fall from $48 billion last year to $38 billion in December suggests it’s moving in the right direction even if the imbalance is still huge.

MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD)While that could lead to an upward revision in the GDP numbers recently released that showed a 0.1% contraction in the fourth quarter, the three stocks below had their own reasons to celebrate.

Company % Gain
Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONCY) 21.9%
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) 11%
MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) 10.1%

Now 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.

Realizing the potential in Reolysin
Cancer fighter Oncolytics Biotech surged Friday after reporting some stellar results from a small clinical trial it ran on lung cancer patients whose disease had metastasized or returned after getting previous treatments. In 19 of the 20 patients treated in the mid-stage study, their cancerous tumors were smaller six weeks later.

Oncolytics uses a proprietary version of the respiratory enteric orphan virus, or reovirus (which is essentially the common cold) to kill cancer cells. By the time you become an adult your body has built up protections against the virus so introducing it into the body leaves healthy cells unaffected . But scientists have discovered that cancer tumors exhibiting a certain mutation aren’t protected from it, and when the virus enters into the cells, it multiplies and ultimately kills the tumor.

It’s an exciting area of study that has the potential for widespread use because by leaving normal, healthy cells alone there may be fewer side effects for patients. There’s still a long way to go before Oncolytics’ Reolysin is approved, but the early look is certainly encouraging.

Coming up craps
Social gaming specialist Zynga is still riding high from its better-than-expected quarterly numbers showing a penny per share profit where Wall Street had been anticipating a $0.03 a share loss. Revenues might have been flat compared to the year-ago period, but it was still 24% better than analyst expectations.

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