Alexion Stock Is Doing Something Rare Right Now

Alexion's options look attractive at the moment

Jun 14, 2017 at 9:59 AM
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Fed meetings obviously have a major impact on a number of sectors, including bank and housing stocks. One group that isn't usually discussed around Fed time is drug stocks, but that's going to change now. That's because since 2015, biotech Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN) has been the worst-performing S&P 500 Index (SPX) stock during weeks when the Fed meets. This week, however, ALXN stock is looking to buck the trend, with the shares notably higher after the company named Biogen's Paul Clancy as CFO.

ALXN Stock Tends to Underperform This Week

While it's unlikely ALXN's weak performance during these periods is directly related to the Federal Reserve, it's still worth noting that Alexion has been the worst stock to own during Fed weeks. Since 2015, Alexion stock has averaged a loss of 2.7% during Fed meeting weeks, closing positive less than one-third of the time. 

As alluded to earlier, though, the stock is up 5.9% today at $114.34, following the C-Suite news. ALXN shares have been bouncing back from a nearly four-year low of $96.18 on May 26, just after the Alexion said its CFO was hitting the bricks, but the shares remain down almost 13% year-over-year. Plus, ALXN is now bumping up against the $114-$115 area, which contained the security's pullback in mid-April, and is staring up at a trendline connecting Alexion's lower highs over the past year.

Wall Street Skeptical of ALXN Stock

Interestingly, Alexion stock presents a compelling opportunity for bearish traders, from a contrarian perspective. For example, even with the weak long-term price action described above, 11 out of 15 analysts recommend buying the stock, with zero "sell" ratings on the books. Even more surprising, the shares have an average 12-month price target of $155. Should the stock remain in its channel of lower highs and lows, ALXN looks vulnerable to a round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts. 

Plus, options traders have been overwhelmingly bullish. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.61, meaning call buying has more than doubled put buying during the past two weeks. Moreover, this ratio ranks in the 85th annual percentile, so this level of call buying relative to put buying is very unusual. 

Bullish or bearish, it's a good time to target short-term ALXN options. This is according to Alexion Pharmaceuticals' Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 41%, which ranks in the low 14th annual percentile. This suggests near-term options are pricing in low volatility expectations, from a historical perspective. 


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