Beware This Pharma Stock Next Month

Short-term BMY options are relatively cheap at the moment

by Karee Venema

Published on Dec 31, 2019 at 10:34 AM
Updated on Dec 31, 2019 at 10:48 AM

The U.S. stock market is set to wrap up the year with big monthly and annual gains, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) pacing toward returns of 2.6% for December and 28.6% for 2019. Looking ahead to 2020, bulls may want to take a closer look at streaming giant Netflix (NFLX), which has been one of the best stocks to own in January over the last decade, while bears may want to consider Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) for a short-term play.

Specifically, BMY has been the worst S&P stock to own in January over the last 10 years, according to data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. The shares have averaged a 3.83% January loss in the past decade -- the biggest on our list -- with 70% of those monthly returns negative.

worst stocks to own in january over last 10 years

An overbought status could exacerbate short-term headwinds on Bristol-Myers Squibb stock, too. The shares have surged nearly 50% from their late-July five-year low at $42.48, and hit an annual high of $64.75 on Dec. 13. While the equity has pulled back from this milestone to trade at $63.65, its 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) is still lingering near "overbought" territory, last seen at 67.3.

Amid BMY's longer-term uptrend, sentiment has grown upbeat toward the outperforming pharmaceutical stock. While eight of 12 analysts call the equity a "strong buy," the average 12-month price target of $66.60 hasn't been touched since March 2018. Plus, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), options traders have bought 4.20 calls for every put over the past 10 days.

Whether it's calls or puts, it's an attractive time to purchase options premium on BMY. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 22% ranks in the 18th annual percentile, meaning short-term options have priced in lower volatility expectations just 18% of the time over the past year.

Meanwhile, separate data from White shows there have been five other times in the past five years that Bristol-Myers Squibb stock was trading within 2% of a 52-week high, while its SVI was ranked in the bottom 20th percentile of its annual range. One month later, the shares were down 0.3%, on average.


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