Buzz Stocks: Biogen Idec Inc., Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Horizon Pharma Public Limited Company

Today's stocks to watch include Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB), Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc (VTAE), and Horizon Pharma PLC (HZNP)

by Josh Selway

Published on Feb 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

U.S. benchmarks are slightly lower this morning, as traders take in an in-line fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). Among the equities in focus are drugmakers Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:VTAE) and Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP).

  • This morning, BIIB and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB announced positive top-line efficacy and safety results for the hemophilia drug, alprolix, in their phase 3 pediatric study. The news has the shares of the former stock up slightly out of the gate, gaining 0.2% at $410.19. Biogen Idec Inc's year-to-date lead now stands at roughly 21%, yet put buyers have been piling on recently. BIIB's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.09 ranks higher than 71% of all similar readings from the past year. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-normal rate recently. Meanwhile, analysts have shown confidence in the security, with 76% of covering brokerage firms calling it a "buy" or better.

  • VTAE is getting walloped this morning, down 13.3% at $11.51, after partner Boehringer Ingelheim put a temporary clinical hold on its experimental Alzeimer's drug to investigate potential side effects. The stock is used to disappointment, considering it's lost 51% since hitting an all-time high of $23.35 on Dec. 11. Brokerage firms have maintained their faith, though. All the analysts covering Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc say it's a "strong buy," while the equity's consensus 12-month price target of $21.75 comes in at a 47% premium to current trading levels. However, just this morning, JMP Securities reduced its price target on VTAE to $16 from $21.

  • Last night, HZNP reported fourth-quarter net sales and profit that beat analysts' expectations, and also upped its full-year revenue forecast. As such, the stock is up 11.9% this morning at $21.33 -- and earlier touched a record high of $21.39. The shares have been blazing a path higher for some time now, tacking on 74.5% year-over-year. In the options pits, call open interest outweighs put open interest by a wide margin among options with a lifespan of three months of less, per Horizon Pharma PLC's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.18. This reading ranks in the 29th percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term speculators are more call-skewed than normal.

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