Stocks closed slightly lower in extremely light trading Thursday as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of Christmas. The price of crude oil continued to recover.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,552.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,060.99 and the Nasdaq composite rose 2.56 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 5,048.49.
Christmas Eve is almost always the quietest trading day of the year, and this year was no exception. Roughly 1.4 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, a third of what’s typical and the lowest volume since Christmas Eve 2013.
U.S. and European markets will remain closed Friday in observance of Christmas.
While stocks were slightly lower Thursday, U.S. markets had a solid week. The S&P 500 rose nearly 3 percent and is back into positive territory for the year, albeit barely. It is not uncommon for stocks to rally into the end of the year, as investors close their books and reposition themselves for the next year.
Relypsa Inc (NASDAQ:RLYP) stock edged higher by 3.44% to close Thursday’s session at USD 28.89. The company’s shares hovered between USD 42.26 and USD 10.26 (marking a new 52-week high/low) during the session. The stock traded with the volume of 3.39 million shares, which was above its 3 month average volume of 2.44 million shares. Over the last 5 days, Relypsa Inc shares have rose by 4.41%. Relypsa Inc (NASDAQ:RLYP) on Dec. 06, 2015 declared that VeltassaTM (patiromer) for oral suspension is now available for prescription to patients with hyperkalemia in the United States. Veltassa was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 21, 2015. It is the first new medicine for the treatment of hyperkalemia, or elevated blood potassium levels, in more than 50 years.
“We are very pleased to announce that Veltassa is now available for the millions of Americans who have hyperkalemia,” said John A. Orwin, president and chief executive officer of Relypsa. “We are committed to ensuring people living with the burden of hyperkalemia have access to this important new medicine and the team at our patient support center, Veltassa Konnect, is ready to support patients who have been prescribed Veltassa.”
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) gained 0.43% to close Thursday’s session at USD 103.58. The shares of the company fluctuated in the range of USD 123.37 and USD 86.00 (marking a new 52-week high/low) during the session. A trading volume of 2.66 million shares was recorded, which was less than its 1 month daily average volume of 8.35 million shares. Over the three months, Gilead Sciences, Inc. shares have surged by 3.88%. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) on Dec. 17, 2015 stated that the companies have entered into a global partnership for the development and commercialization of the JAK1-selective inhibitor filgotinib for inflammatory indications. Galapagos will receive an upfront payment of $725 million consisting of a license fee of $300 million and a $425 million equity investment in Galapagos. In addition, Galapagos is eligible for payments of up to $1.35 billion in milestones, with tiered royalties starting at 20% and a profit split in co-promotion territories.
Phase 2 trial data show that filgotinib has the potential to be an effective and well-tolerated oral therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (DARWIN studies) and Crohn`s disease (FITZROY study). The companies will start Phase 3 trials in RA and Crohn`s in 2016 pending the successful outcome of discussions with regulatory authorities.
Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN)‘s stock decreased by -1.03% to close Thursday’s session at USD 4.82. The Company’s shares oscillated in the range of USD 4.77 and USD 5.04. A total of 2.58 million shares exchanged hands, which followed its 1 month daily average volume of 3.28 million shares. Over the last five days Geron Corporation shares have surged by 1.90%. Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the development of telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, for treating hematologic myeloid malignancies. It has collaboration and license agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. to develop and commercialize imetelstat worldwide for indications in oncology, including hematologic myeloid malignancies and other human therapeutic uses. The company was founded in 1990 and is based in Menlo Park, California.