Buy The Dip On These 2 Biotech Stocks

ARRY and IMGN recently pulled back to bullish trendlines

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jul 25, 2018 at 2:13 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Two biotech names to watch in the next month are Array Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:ARRY) and ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASDAQ:IMGN). Both stocks have struggled recently, but could both be poised to snap out of their funk soon if history is any guide.

Array Biopharma Options Are Attractively Priced

Although Array Biopharma stock is up 1.1% to trade at $16.21 today, the biotech name has struggled since topping at a record high just above the $20 level on June 21. In the past month, ARRY has shed 14% and pulled back to a key trendline.

The stock is now within one standard deviation of its 160-day moving average, after a lengthy stretch above this trendline. There have been four other times over the last three years where ARRY has pulled back to its 160-day after trading above it for a significant length of time. Following those four prior signals, the security went on to average a gain of 19% over the next month, and was higher 75% of the time, per data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. A similar burst from current levels would put the stock back near record-high territory.

ARRY Pullback

In the options pits, calls are prevalent in the past 10 days, despite limited volume. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculative players have bought to open 835 calls in the last 10 sessions, compared to just 85 puts. Plus, unusually low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term ARRY options, based on its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 59% -- ranking in the low 21st annual percentile. 

ImmunoGen Stock Ripe For A Short Squeeze

Turning to ImmunoGen, the drugmaker is down 0.9% to trade at $9.85 at last check. Although sporting a 54% year-to-date lead, IMGN has churned between the $9.50-$12 levels for the past four months. 

This consolidation also coincides with a brush up against the shares' 160-day moving average. According to White, there have been three other times over the last three years where IMGN has pulled back to its 160-day after trading above it for a significant length of time. Following those three prior signals, the stock went on to average a gain of 7.5% over the next month.

IMGN Pullback

A short squeeze could provide more tailwinds for the biotech name. Short interest has only gained 4% in the most recent reporting period, yet the 16.23 million shares sold short still represent 18% of IMGN's total available float. At the security's average pace of trading, it would take nearly seven days to buy back the bets.

For ImmunoGen, the attitude in the options pits is equally call-skewed. ISE/CBOE/PHLX data shows speculative players have bought to open 878 calls in the last 10 sessions, compared to just 21 puts. The resultant call/put volume ratio ranks in the 94th percentile of its annual range, indicating a much healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls over puts during the past two weeks. What's more, now seems to be a great time to target short-term options on IMGN. This is according to its SVI of 74%, which ranks in the 15th percentile of its annual range. 


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