Meme Stock Movers for 11/26: Cassava Sciences, Lucid, Ocugen, Vertex Energy, and More

All three major U.S. stock indexes were trading solidly lower Friday morning. The discovery of a new coronavirus variant that has a high number of mutations and is spreading rapidly in South Africa. A new variant of the infection is chilling because it could lead to the kind of economic slowdown that accompanied the spread of the Delta variant this past summer. Crude oil traded down as much as 6.5% early this morning at around $72.60 a barrel and has since edged back up to around $74.00. Bitcoin traded below $54,000 earlier and is currently down about 7.9% at around $54,200. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have dropped nearly 10 basis points to 1.54% as demand for security replaces appetite for risk.

Among meme stocks, Ocugen Inc. (NASDAQ: OCGN) is positioned to be the big loser in Friday’s half-day trading session. In a press release this morning, the company said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed a “clinical hold on the Company’s Investigational New Drug application (IND) to evaluate the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BBV152, known as COVAXIN outside the United States.” The press release goes on:

The FDA plans to identify the specific deficiencies that are the basis for clinical hold and information on how to address those deficiencies. The Company expects to receive formal written communication with the additional information from the FDA  and plans to work with the FDA in an effort to resolve its questions as promptly as possible.

The stock traded down more than 17% in Friday’s premarket at $5.88.

At the close Wednesday, the day’s meme stock winner was Vertex Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) which closed up 12%. Shares traded down by more than 5% in Friday’s premarket. There was no specific news on the company. In late October the company’s stock fell 20% on an announced issuance of $155 million in convertible senior notes. As of Wednesday’s close, the stock had regained about 75% of that drop.

Another double-digit gainer on Wednesday was Cassava Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVA). Shares closed up by more than 10% Wednesday to close at $58.05. More than half that gain has been given back in Friday’s premarket where the stock is trading at around $54.75. The company has had no specific news since last week’s announcement that it was initiating a second Phase 3 study of its treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

EV stocks are also being punished Friday morning, likely due to reports of the new coronavirus variant. Lucid Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID) traded down more than 6% at around $49.30. Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) traded down more than 5% at $109.50 and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) traded down about 2.6% at $1,087.00.

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