Call Players Maintain a Tight Grip on Rallying Esperion Therapeutics Inc (ESPR)

Esperion Therapeutics Inc (ESPR) hit its highest perch on record earlier

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 17, 2015 at 11:39 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR) hit the $91.50 mark earlier -- its highest perch on record -- after the firm released positive mid-stage study results of its cholesterol drug. At last check, though, the equity was up 14.8% at $88.49, and call players were flocking to ESPR's options pits. Specifically, calls are trading at 14 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and are outpacing puts by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Today's call-skewed session is just more of the same for ESPR options traders. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 10.41 calls for every put over the past 10 sessions. With 17.1% of the stock's float sold short, though, some of this call buying may have been at the hands of shorts protecting their bearish bets.

Regardless of the reason, those purchasing short-term bets have been willing to pay a pretty penny. ESPR's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 96% ranks higher than 82% of similar readings taken in the past year. In other words, premium on the equity's near-term options is currently pricing in relatively lofty volatility expectations.

On the charts, today's surge echoes the equity's technical strength, with shares of ESPR more than doubling in value on a year-to-date basis. A continued rise could have analysts following in the footsteps of Stifel, which once again boosted its price target on Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ESPR), this time to $106 from $90. The security's average 12-month price target of $85.67 stands at a discount to present trading levels.


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