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How Low Can They Go?

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For the GTI companies, the 52-week high is a distant memory

By Adrienne Burke

One look at the graph at the right will tell you February wasn’t a great month for the GTI. Heading into March, things didn’t look much better. As this issue of Genome Technology went to press, four GTI stocks had just hit their 52-week lows. Three — Compugen at $4.87, Cepheid at $4.75, and Lion at $34 — only went public in the past year. This was rock bottom. The fourth, Aurora, has actually seen far grimmer days (in the $3 range) since it went public in 1997.

Another five companies — Aclara, Orchid, Rosetta, Sequenom, and Variagenics — hovered within 10 percent of their 52-week low on March 2.

More painful for anyone who’s been holding onto these companies is to recall their 52-week highs. Sequenom was worth just six percent of the high it reached a year ago — $11.75 vs. $191.25. Aclara and Nanogen were worth seven percent of their high trading prices. Aurora was at 11 percent and Orchid 12 percent its 52-week high.

To carry out our futile analysis of the day further: On the flip side are eight companies that closed at values at least 50 percent better than their 52-week low: Applied Biosystems, Bruker Daltonics, Celera, Illumina, Invitrogen, Luminex, Lynx, and Molecular Devices.

Investors who bought Luminex when it was down at $13.25 were 142 percent better off at close of business March 2. Invitrogen, at $80.88, was worth 124 percent more than its low. And Molecular Devices closed at $66 per share — up 74 percent from its low of $38.

And while there’s not a GTI stock that hasn’t disappointed lately, a few aren’t such heartbreakers. Luminex and Molecular Devices are still worth 50 percent of their high value. And Invitrogen wins for best behavior of all: it’s worth 81 percent its 52-week high of $99.50. Could it be that mad cow tests — Invitrogen’s hot product at the moment — make more sense to investors than genomics technologies?

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