Major U.S. stocks indexes are trading slightly down on Wednesday afternoon, driven by mixed economic data out of the U.S. and China, which had a particularly strong impact on telecommunications stocks, which re mostly down. Automakers are also on the decline after it was known that sales declined over May. However, a few stocks are surging today. Among them, we can count Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), Ocean Power Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:OPTT), Actinium Pharmaceuticals Inc (NYSEMKT:ATNM) and Shopify Inc (NYSE:SHOP), all of which posted strong gains on Wednesday trading. So, let’s take a look into the events behind said spikes, and into what the hedge funds in our database think about the companies in question.
Academic research has shown that certain insider purchases historically outperformed the market by an average of seven percentage points per year. This effect is more pronounced in small-cap stocks. Another exception is the small-cap stock picks of hedge funds. Our research has shown that imitating the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the market by nearly a percentage point per month between 1999 and 2012 (read more details here).
Galena’s NeuVax Gets Fast-Tracked By FDA
Let’s start with Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), a small cap that is up by more than 20%, after the company’s NeuVax (nelipepimut-S), combined with recombinant granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), was designated by the FDA for Fast Track development. The drug composite will be evaluated for the treatment of “patients with early stage, node positive breast cancer with low to intermediate HER2 expression, otherwise known as HER2 1+ or 2+, following standard of care.” Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) saw the number of hedge fund supporters – among those we track – advance by 25% over the first quarter of 2016, to 5. However, these funds held slightly more than 1% of the total shares outstanding. Among the most bullish institutional investors was D. E. Shaw, which more than tripled its exposure over the quarter, to 206,943 shares.
Whole Foods Soars On Credit Suisse Upgrade
Next up is Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), which gained almost 5% following an upgrade from Credit Suisse. On Wednesday, the famed research firm boosted its rating on shares of the retailer from Neutral to Outperform, and its price target from $30 to $40, arguing that Whole Foods’ 365 strategy will prove beneficial over the long term. “We see a unique opportunity to own this leading specialty food player while still in the early stages of a repositioning that should reinvigorate growth. A 50 percent drop in the stock from its peak provides an attractive entry point,” the report stated. Probably helping the stock as well were Jim Cramer’s remarks on CNBC, where he also said that, he believes the 365 concept “is going to be a win.” 25 funds among those we track held long stakes in Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) by the end of the first quarter of 2016. A noteworthy position was that of Robert Joseph Caruso’s Select Equity Group, which more than doubled its exposure over the period, taking its holdings to almost 5.18 million shares, valued at more than $161 million by March 31.