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Stocks  | August 27, 2019

Golden crosses and death crosses are common signals in technical analysis and refer to the relationship between short-term and long-term moving averages. The golden cross typically is seen as a bullish sign, perhaps a stock that has broken out or is about to. The death cross, on the other hand, can be a bearish sign, perhaps warning investors to get out of the way or signaling that it may be time short the stock.

Here are three biotech stocks that recently saw their 50-day moving average cross above the 200-day average, a golden cross, plus two that went the other way.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) saw its golden cross last week, and the gap between the two averages is less than a dollar so far. Note that insiders sold more than 4 million shares of this cystic fibrosis focused company in the past couple of weeks. The stock is still almost 4% higher in the past 90 days, despite pulling back some late last week, and analysts on average recommend buying shares.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC’s (NASDAQ: JAZZ) short-term moving average crossed above the long-term one at in mid-August, and the gap between those averages has widened to almost 1.5%. Piper Jaffray downgraded the stock recently after Jazz announced the acquisition of a smaller biotech. Its shares are down about 3% in the past 90 days, while the S&P 500 has gained more than 2%. Still, analysts overall recommend buying shares.

The rise in the Allakos Inc. (NASDAQ: ALLK) short-term moving average is the result of a surge in the share price in the wake of positive trial results released earlier this month. The gap between the averages is up to around 15%. The shares have well more than doubled from this time a month ago. The consensus recommendation is to buy shares, though only three analysts were surveyed.

Amicus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FOLD) saw a death cross last week. The gap between the two averages has widened to more than 3%. The New Jersey-based company posted positive trial results but disappointing quarterly earnings earlier in August. Its shares are down more than 19% in the past 90 days, compared to an almost 3% gain for the Nasdaq. Yet, all but one of the seven analysts surveyed recommend buying shares.

Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd.’s (NYSE: BHVN) death cross happened in mid-August, and the difference in the two averages is up to more than $3 so far. This clinical-stage biopharma posted a bigger than expected net loss for the second quarter. Its shares are down 34% from three months ago, yet still around 5% higher year to date. The consensus analyst recommendation remains to buy the shares.

24/7 Wall St. recently pondered whether big biotechs were a better bet for dividend investors than the pharmaceutical giants.

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