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Poniard, Xfone: Early Volume Plays

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Several stocks trading near $5 were poised to move on above-average volume during Wednesday's session.

Poniard Pharmaceuticals (PARD) dropped by 25 cents, or 16.2%, to $1.31 at the start of trading Wednesday after the company said it has suspended efforts to obtain regulatory approval for picoplatin in small cell lung cancer. Poniard said it has also engaged Leerink Swann to conduct a review of strategic alternatives, including capital raising alternatives, merger, sale or partnership. The 50-day average daily volume for Poniard is 2.73 million, according to the Nasdaq.

Gentium (GENT) jumped by 38 cents, or 20.9%, to $2.20 after the biopharmaceutical company said its Defibrotide showed a 40% reduction in the incidence of hepatic veno-occlusive disease in high risk pediatric patients within 30 days after stem cell transplant. The 50-day average daily volume for Gentium is 58,000.

Xfone (XFN) should trade higher after the international voice, data and video company said in a letter to shareholders that it has been awarded $63.6 million in stimulus grants and long term loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will be used for by its Fiber-To-The-Premise (FTTP) business. The three-month average daily volume for Xfone is 117,000, according to Yahoo! Finance.

FelCor Lodging Trust (FCH) opened higher by 27 cents, or 5.2%, to $5.49 after FBR Capital Markets upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform, citing improving trends in the lodging industry. FBR also upped its stock price target to $6.50 from $3.50. The three-month average daily volume for FelCor Lodging is 536,000.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

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