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Drug development is a ruthless business. Argos Therapeutics lost about three-fourths of its value last week after an independent testing committee said it should discontinue a late-stage trial for an anti-cancer drug. Three other pharma companies based in the Triangle area also declined at least 8%: BioChryst, Chimerix and Novan. Much cheerier results came from LendingTree, which is benefiting from a strengthening housing market. It tops the list of  best performing Carolinas-based stocks included in the Capital Investment Cos./Nottingham Index of public companies for the week ended Feb. 24. (Shares trading under $10 are excluded, including the four drug developers cited above.)

LendingTree (TREE) 9.3% The Charlotte-based online marketplace reported adjusted earnings per share of 87 cents, topping analysts’ estimates by 9 cents.

SPX (SPXC) 8.4%  A lower-than-expected fourth quarter loss sparked a gain. The Charlotte-based industrial products company trades at its highest level since 2014..

Scana (SCG) 5%  South Carolina’s biggest utility rebounded from a 6% decline in the previous week, triggered after Toshiba said it may sell its Westinghouse nuclear unit, which is making a reactor for Scana.

The weakest performers:

BenefitFocus (BNFT) -13.7%  Investors weren’t impressed with fourth-quarter earnings at the Charleston, S.C.-based company. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey LaBoarde is leaving in April, the third person to leave that post in the last year.

Denny’s (DENN) -7.1%  Restaurant operator declined after sharp rise during previous week. It operates 1,600 stores.

Commscope (COMM) -5.4%  Hickory-based company had net income of $54 million in the fourth quarter. Operating income is expected to top $730 million in 2017. Shares have increased 49% in the last year.

 

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.
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