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With the second half of today's session now underway, three of the top market movers are biopharmaceutical concern MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD), data storage concern NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP), and cancer treatment specialist Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN). Here's a quick roundup of how this trio of names is performing on the charts so far.
MNKD shares ran to a four-year peak of $11.48 earlier, after the company received long-awaited approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell its inhaled insulin drug Afrezza. At last check, the shares were trading 11.1% higher at $11.11, and speculators on both sides of the options pits were exchanging contracts at roughly four times the expected intraday rate. From a broader technical perspective, MannKind Corporation is up a jaw-dropping 114% in 2014; however, short interest still accounts for 28.7% of the equity's float. What's more, it would take nearly a week to cover these shorted shares, at the security's average daily trading volume. As such, a short-squeeze scenario may be on the horizon -- should the equity continue to rally -- potentially adding more fuel to MNKD's fire.
An upbeat outlook in Barron's (subscription required) over the weekend has shares of NTAP 2.7% higher this afternoon to $36.45. Meanwhile, overall options volume has jumped to more than two times what is typically seen at this time in the day. The weekly 7/3 37-strike call has seen a healthy portion of the activity, with speculators apparently betting on continued upside through Thursday's 1:00 p.m. ET close (when the options expire). Looking back over the past 10 trading days, NetApp Inc. has racked up an International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 5.29, which ranks in the top 6% of its 12-month range. Simply stated, calls have been bought to open over puts at a near-annual-high clip recently.
GERN is pointed 7.7% higher today at $3.20, extending its one-month gain to more than 53%. Subsequently, call volume on the equity has spiked to almost three times the intraday average, though such preference for calls over puts is nothing out of the ordinarily in Geron Corporation's options pits of late. In particular, the stock boasts a 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 29.51, with long calls outnumbering long puts by a nearly 30-to-1 margin. What's more, this ratio ranks in the 94th annual percentile, indicating the recent rate of call buying, relative to put buying, is much faster than usual. Some of these option bulls may have actually been short sellers in disguise, however, as short interest makes up a healthy 16.3%