Buzz Stocks: Biogen Idec, Vitae Pharma, Horizon Pharma

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

Feb 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM
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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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