U.S. markets posted slight gains Tuesday, with the Russell 2000 Index leading the way, up 0.3%. The S&P 500 Index posted a 0.1% gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was unmoved and the Nasdaq Composite advanced by 0.3%. Today, investors can expect some tepid action ahead of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s testimony.
Still, there will be some action on Wednesday worth watching. Square Inc (NYSE:SQ) is on top of the world as it continues a rip-roaring 2017, while Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:CARA) and Healthcare Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCSG) are advancing after letting loose with some positive headlines.
Here’s what you should know heading into Wednesday’s trade:
Square Inc (SQ)
SQ stock is still rising this morning — a follow-up to yesterday’s 6%-plus jump that sent shares of the fintech company even further into all-time high territory.
The most recent optimism was sparked by a note from Loop Capital Markets’ Joseph Vafi, who thinks PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) should acquire Square to better insert itself into more brick-and-mortar operations, and that the tie-up would make technological sense given that the two systems already are somewhat integrated.
Vafi also believes Square could help boost traction in PayPal’s Venmo, an increasingly popular service among millennials that allow people to share payments, typically for small things such as restaurant bills and cab rides.
SQ stock itself is now up more than 85% year-to-date, buoyed by increasingly sturdy fundamentals that include its first positive adjusted earnings in company history, and still rapidly growing revenues.
Square shares are up more than 1% this morning.
Cara Therapeutics Inc (CARA)
Shares of CARA are sprinting out of the gate Wednesday morning on the back of encouraging news about its Oral CR845 treatment for chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus.
CARA reported Phase 1 summary results this morning, and found that all four tablet strengths of Oral CR845 “were generally well-tolerated when administered either daily or after dialysis three times per week” in patients undergoing.
CR845 has earned the FDA’s “Breakthrough Therapy” designation to treat moderate to severe CKD-aP undergoing hemodialysis. Puritus is a systemic itch condition that frequently happens in CKD patients undergoing hemodialysis, though can occur in patients that have not yet begun treatment. The U.S. opportunity alone is roughly 4 million to 5 million patients.
Wednesday’s news is being welcomed by Cara Therapeutics bulls, who suffered a massive drop at the end of June after a trial showed that CR845 failed to show strong efficacy in treating patients with hip and knee pain.
CARA stock is up about 9% in premarket trade.
Healthcare Services Group Inc. (HCSG)
Lastly, HCSG is on the rise after unveiling its latest quarterly data.
The healthcare services provider earned 30 cents per share in its second quarter, topping the consensus estimate by a penny. That profit was more than 15% better year-over-year.
Meanwhile, Healthcare Services Group’s revenue was $470.9 million, which represented 22% growth year-over-year and was better than analysts’ projections by $45.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters-polled analysts.
Healthcare Services Group also issued a quarterly cash dividend of 18.875 cents per share, payable Sept. 22 to shareholders on record as of Aug. 18.
HCSG will continue a Street-beating 2017 in which it already was up 19% before its Q2 release. As of this morning, shares were on pace to advance another 4%.