Nuance and ARIAD Are Volume Movers for Very Different Reasons

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Nearly 39 million shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) have traded hands as of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, nearly triple the stock’s average daily volume of around 14 million shares traded. Shares of Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) are moving even faster, having traded nearly 28 million shares, against an average daily volume of around 5 million.

The difference is the direction of the companies’ stock prices. Ariad shares are continuing a rise that began on Friday and really took off Monday. After closing at $2.79 on Thursday, Ariad’s shares opened at $3.49 on Friday and closed the day at $3.78. The stock opened at $4.06 on Monday and closed at $5.13. And for a while Tuesday it looked like the music would never stop when shares hit a peak of around $5.60, before dropping back to around $5, very likely on profit taking. The impetus for this was a ruling from the European drug regulator that allows Ariad to continue selling its leukemia drug with some restrictions. The threat that the company would have to withdraw the drug had caused shares to slide 88% since October. Looks like the company dodged a bullet there.

As for Nuance, the voice recognition software maker is suffering from an earnings report out after markets closed Monday. Nuance software is the force behind Siri voice recognition feature on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones. The bad news was summed up by the company’s CEO: “We won’t see meaningful organic growth in the mobile phone segment of the overall mobile business this year.” Ouch.

Shares of Nuance were down 15% at $13.59 near mid-day, after posting a new 52-week low of $13.45 earlier. The 52-week high is $24.85, and the consensus analysts’ price target for the stock is $21.30.

Ariad’s shares were down about a penny, at $5.12 in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $24.59. The consensus price target on the stock is around $3.40.