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A number of this year's hot penny stocks have soared by double digits since the New Year.
Their meteoric moves have far outpaced the lukewarm (if any) gains of major benchmarks and their components. The Dow is down roughly 4% and the S&P is off nearly 3% year to date, after gains of 26% and 32% respectively in 2013. The Nasdaq was up 1% until Friday's broad-based selloff left the tech-heavy index down an equal amount for the year.
Penny stocks caught our eye this year when a number of tiny biotech companies surged on promising new treatments.
Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHTP) shares soared 91.7% to $5.78 mid-month when its drug Northera, used to treat low blood pressure in patients with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, got a near-unanimous thumbs-up from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel.
And Mast Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MSTX) jumped 60% to $0.85 in a three-day rally last week after Chief Executive Officer Brian M. Cully's presentation at the OneMedForum Emerging Company Finance Conference. This small and obscure company is developing an agent that has the potential to reduce ischemic tissue injury and organ damage.
But it's not just low-priced biotech stocks that have climbed.
While the Dow closed out its worst week in a year and a half, plenty of penny stocks logged their best week ever - proof that bigger isn't always better.
Following are 10 of this week's hottest penny stocks. Some soared on company developments or industry-related news. Others rode higher on the heels of positive peer performance.
10 Hot Penny Stocks Soaring Higher
- Luna Innovations Inc. (Nasdaq: LUNA) more than doubled in value, rising $1.50 to $2.82 intraday Wednesday after announcing it is selling its shape-sensing technology, used in medical applications, to Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG), which makes a robotic surgical system.
- Homex Development Corp. ADR (NYSE: HMX) traded some 4.69 million shares Wednesday, gaining 49.14%, to $1.73. The Mexico-based homebuilding company engages in the development, construction, and sales of affordable entry-level, middle-income, and tourism housing in Mexico.
- InfoSonics Corp. (Nasdaq: IFON) added 44.64% Wednesday to $2.79. The company provides wireless handsets and accessories in emerging markets such as Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Asia.
- Sun Health Link Systems Inc. (NYSE: SSY) shares jumped 43% Friday to $1.43. The Atlanta, Ga.-based provider of healthcare services rose on talks of consolidation in the sector.
- Pro-Dex Inc. (Nasdaq: PDEX) gained 41.73% to $3.77 Wednesday on reports of insider buying. PDEX is a micro-cap medical and motion control design and manufacturing company.
- Vringo Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNG) added 21.73% Thursday to $3.81. In a big win for the company, a U.S. district court judge ruled that I/P Engine (Vringo's subsidiary) is entitled to ongoing royalties as long as Internet giants like Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) continue to use its "modified system."
- Gen Vec Inc. (Nasdaq: GNVC) jumped 20% Thursday to $4.19. Shares got a boost from several news stories about the need for new vaccines. Based in Gaithersburg, Md., GNVC is a biopharmaceutical company working on a number of therapeutics and vaccines for various ailments.
- Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) vaulted 20% higher Wednesday to $4.52 after a New York Times article ran a piece about the need for landline phone amid a worldwide shift to cellphones only. In addition to providing home telephone services, VG also provides global communications that connects individuals through cloud-connected devise.
- RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) rose 18% mid-week to $2.54, the biggest gain in almost a year, after a report backed Litespeed Management LLC's investment in the company.
- ThermoGenesis Corp. (Nasdaq: KOOL) jumped 14.53% early in the week after announcing it has completed an all stock merger with privately held TotipotentRX Corp. The two teamed up to compete in the growing stem cell research field.
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