Meme Stock Movers for 12/21: Cassava, Marathon Digital, Nikola, Progenity

At noon on Monday, U.S. markets looked like they were headed toward a loss of around 2%. Shares began rising as investors seized an opportunity to buy the dip, lifting shares to a more modest loss of around 1% or so for the day. Equities traded up again in Tuesday’s premarket, with the Nasdaq up more than 1% and the Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 not far behind.

Crude oil dipped to just pennies above $66 a barrel on Monday but closed above $68 and traded up nearly $70 in Tuesday’s premarket. Bitcoin traded up nearly 4% Tuesday morning, near $49,000. The 10-year/two-year Treasury note spread had widened a bit more Tuesday morning, to 0.795% from 0.780% on Monday.

There were far more losers than winners on our watch list of meme stocks Monday. Cassava Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVA) dropped 15% on no news. The stock traded up by more than 33% in Tuesday’s premarket in what can only be an attempt at a short squeeze. According to Fintel data, more than 27% of Cassava’s stock is sold short and just 50,000 shares were available to short sellers late Monday. We will check back in our midday report.

Electric truck maker Nikola  Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) dropped nearly 7.5% on Monday but traded up about 4% in Tuesday’s premarket. The company has confirmed that it has reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to allegations that founder and former CEO Trevor Milton made misleading comments and committed other “alleged deceptions, all of which falsely portrayed the true state of the company’s business and technology.”

Nikola will pay a fine of $125 million, while neither admitting nor denying the SEC’s findings. The company said it has taken action to get reimbursement from Milton for “costs and damages in connection with the government and regulatory investigations.”

Progenity Inc. (NASDAQ: PROG) dropped more than 9% on Monday but traded up about 2% in Tuesday’s premarket. The company said Monday that it had completed the sale of its Avero Diagnostics affiliate for $10.9 million. The company’s chief financial officer said the sale would reduce operating expenses by about $28 million annually and enlarge a total reduction in operating expenses to about $145 compared to the prior quarter: “This reduction, along with capital raised, should extend our cash runway beyond the end of 2022 and reduce our dependency on the capital markets.”

Bitcoin prices weighed on bitcoin miners Monday, even though the digital currency ended the day with a gain. That appeared to be putting some air under the mining companies Tuesday morning. Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA), for example, dropped just over 4% on Monday and traded up more than 7% in Tuesday’s premarket on the strength of rising Bitcoin prices.

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