2 Stocks Stopping the Presses

You saw the headlines. You know your stock price made a big move. But what does that portend for your investment's future?

By pairing the latest news with the collective wisdom of our 180,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS investing community, we might be able to discover whether your stock's latest exploits are a short-term hiccup -- or the start of a much bigger trend.

These two stocks both made big moves over the past five trading days, one up, one down:


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Change Past Week

McMoRan Exploration (NYS: MMR)



Zogenix (NAS: ZGNX)



Source: Motley Fool CAPS, % change from March 20 to March 27.

Down in the depths
No doubt it's partly a case of jitters that upon hearing the words "malfunction" and "Gulf of Mexico," investors start running for the exits. But McMoRan Exploration was sent diving earlier this week after reporting an equipment malfunction while drilling a well on South Marsh Island.

The technical difficulties at its aptly named Davy Jones site, where it holds a 63% working interest and a 50% net revenue interest, were related to its hydraulic perforating equipment. Much of McMoRan's success floats on its ability to capitalize on this well, where it recently noted conducting a successful flow test that has important implications on potential future reserve additions, both at Davy Jones and its other ultra-deep prospects.

BP's disaster in the Gulf has heightened the sensitivities of all operators there, and Chevron (NYS: CVX) is going through similar recriminations because of an oil spill off the coast of Brazil that occurred there this past November. Transocean (NYS: RIG) , which owned the BP rig, has also been named in the Chevron case, while French oil giant Total is battling a major gas leak at its Elgin platform in the North Sea. A two-mile exclusion zone has been set up for boats in the area, while it's been expanded to three miles for airlines, due to the risk of a huge explosion.

So the sinking of McMoRan, even if the concern is weighted toward operational performance, is affected by concerns of further spills. Yet CAPS member JeffTex42 believes the driller has technological expertise that should make its efforts successful:

MMR's efforts in the shallow-water ultra-deep GoM has not gone unnoticed ... particularly by Chevron. They are close to testing/producing the first of many wells that are pushing very significant technological boundaries. They are one of the very few making any significant effort toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Tell us in the comments section below or on the McMoRan Exploration CAPS page whether you think this setback will sink the driller, then add the stock to your watchlist to be alerted of any new developments at the site.

Gimme an ice pack
Sometimes it's not so much that you succeed, it's that others fail. That's the case with tiny pharmaceutical Zogenix, which got a boost after MAP Pharmaceuticals failed to gain FDA approval for a migraine therapy. Zogenix currently markets a treatment that likely would have been pressured had MAP's orally inhaled treatment succeeded.

Although others market migraine drugs, including POZEN and AstraZeneca (NYS: AZN) , another competitor on the market at this time isn't what Zogenix needs. Sales fell 10% and it posted a wider-than-expected loss earlier in the month. Shares were already under pressure as a result and there's still the probability MAP will ultimately be successful in its bid once it overcomes the objections raised.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star zzlangerhans says the real future for Zogenix is in its new controlled-release therapy for chronic pain:

The company has fortified their cash position recently at the expense of heavy dilution and debt, which can only control the hemorrhage temporarily. Their only long-term hope is Zohydro controlled-release hydrocodone for chronic pain, which should be submitted to the FDA in Q2 2012.

While he points to Pain Therapeutics and Acura Pharmaceuticals as two that have run into the FDA's brick wall in that arena, pharmaceuticals are under the gun to come up with ways to limit the abuse of their drugs by foiling an addict's ability to extract the active ingredients from them. Controlled-release formulations are increasingly making that effort harder.

Add Zogenix to the Fool's free portfolio tracker and let us know in the comments section below whether you think investors will end up with a bigger headache when it goes up for FDA approval.

Read all about it!
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Dupreyholds no position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron and Total. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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