Drug development is a ruthless business. Argos Therapeutics lost about three-fourths of its value last week after an independent testing committee said it should discontinue a late-stage trial for an anti-cancer drug. Three other pharma companies based in the Triangle area also declined at least 8%: BioChryst, Chimerix and Novan. Much cheerier results came from LendingTree, which is benefiting from a strengthening housing market. It tops the list of best performing Carolinas-based stocks included in the Capital Investment Cos./Nottingham Index of public companies for the week ended Feb. 24. (Shares trading under $10 are excluded, including the four drug developers cited above.)
LendingTree (TREE) 9.3% The Charlotte-based online marketplace reported adjusted earnings per share of 87 cents, topping analysts’ estimates by 9 cents.
SPX (SPXC) 8.4% A lower-than-expected fourth quarter loss sparked a gain. The Charlotte-based industrial products company trades at its highest level since 2014..
Scana (SCG) 5% South Carolina’s biggest utility rebounded from a 6% decline in the previous week, triggered after Toshiba said it may sell its Westinghouse nuclear unit, which is making a reactor for Scana.
The weakest performers:
BenefitFocus (BNFT) -13.7% Investors weren’t impressed with fourth-quarter earnings at the Charleston, S.C.-based company. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey LaBoarde is leaving in April, the third person to leave that post in the last year.
Denny’s (DENN) -7.1% Restaurant operator declined after sharp rise during previous week. It operates 1,600 stores.
Commscope (COMM) -5.4% Hickory-based company had net income of $54 million in the fourth quarter. Operating income is expected to top $730 million in 2017. Shares have increased 49% in the last year.