YRC Worldwide: Pump Up the Volume

( Updated with YRC volume and price move.)

YRC Worldwide Surges as Bankruptcy Fears Subside

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. ( TheStreet) -- YRC Worldwide ( YRCW) shares jumped Wednesday on heavy volume as it appears the threat of bankruptcy has subsided.

YRC Worldwide was lately up 89 cents, or 20.4%, to $5.24, making it one of the biggest price gainers on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. Volume topped 16.7 million shares at 1 p.m. EDT, more than double the 50-day average daily volume of 8.3 million, according to the Nasdaq's Web site.

If Wednesday's gains hold, YRC shares will have finished higher 13 out of 16 trading sessions in September, reflecting optimism the company will not be forced to file for bankruptcy protection. Earlier this month, YRC Worldwide amended a $950 million credit agreement with lenders as part of its efforts to stave off bankruptcy.

Short interest is very high on YRC Worldwide, as it appears traders had banked on the company filing for bankruptcy protection. YRC sported a short interest float of 29.3% as of Aug. 26, according to Yahoo! Finance. YRC has a 58 million-share float.

Investor posts on Internet message boards for YRC Worldwide noted the upside momentum, as the stock has surged more than 150% over the last month. Some other traders argued the company should begin considering a secondary offering of common stock.

Opexa Jumps on Milestone Payment

Opexa Therapeutics ( OPXA) shares were surging Wednesday on above-average volume after the company announced it had triggered a milestone payment.

The micro-cap drug stock jumped nearly 20% after announcing it has achieved its first technology transfer milestone in connection with its recently announced stem cell agreement with Novartis ( NVS). The milestone achievement triggers a payment of $500,000 to Opexa, the company said.

Under the agreement with Novartis, Opexa received an upfront cash payment of $3 million and was entitled to an additional $1 million as a technology transfer fee to be paid over the course of a six month period. The $500,000 milestone is part of that $1 million technology transfer fee, Opexa said.

Opexa shares, which have been all over the map this month, were lately up 62 cents, or 17.9%, to $4.08. As of 1:10 p.m. EDT, more than 7 million changed hands, which is nearly twice the stock's 50-day average daily volume, according to the Nasdaq's Web site. Opexa has a 9.46 million-share float, according to Yahoo! Finance.

As my colleague Adam Feuerstein pointed out earlier this month, Opexa has seen volume surge and price volatility on assorted news items.

The stock soared 270% on Sept. 9 to close at $5.66 after the company said "additional favorable data" from a previously completed phase II study of Tovaxin, a personalized immunotherapy, or "vaccine" for patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, Feuerstein wrote. During that Sept. 9 session, the stock touched an intraday high of $6.93, a staggering gain of 353%.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York.

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