Stocks on the Move: MannKind Corporation, Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc, Unilife Corp

Healthcare concerns MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) and Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SGYP), and Unilife Corp (NASDAQ:UNIS) are making notable moves in today's trading

Jul 30, 2015 at 11:17 AM
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Stocks have taken a turn for the worse today, as traders digest an uninspiring update on second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), as well as a fresh round of earnings from the social media sector. Another sector garnering notable attention today is healthcare, with several components -- including biotechs MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) and Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SGYP), as well as medical device maker Unilife Corp (NASDAQ:UNIS) -- making big moves.

MNKD, for example, is down 4.5% to $4.24, after Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) -- which markets MNKD's Afrezza -- reported disappointing second-quarter sales of the inhaled insulin drug. Today's negative price action just extends Wednesday's sell-off, when the stock surrendered nearly 8% after the company unveiled plans to exchange $84.6 million of 2015 notes for new stock. Year-to-date, the security is now down 18.9% -- and on track for its worst monthly performance since July 2014.

Option traders have been rolling the dice on more downside, too. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), MannKind Corporation's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.99 ranks in the 89th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a near-annual-high-clip in recent months.

SGYP has popped 8.2% to linger near $8.88, after the company's constipation drug, Plecanatide, was effective in a late-stage study. Technically speaking, the stock was already sporting a 169% year-to-date advance heading into today's session -- thanks to a mid-June bull gap -- and hit a four-year high of $10.15 on July 7.

Short sellers have been on the losing end of this uptrend. In the last two reporting periods, short interest on Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 17.4%. These bearish bets now account for more than one-quarter of the stock's available float, or 3.5 times SGYP's average daily trading volume.

UNIS last night unveiled a patch to instantly release insulin to patients with type 2 diabetes -- a first of its kind. Additionally, the company announced a $45 million financing agreement with Lincoln Park Capital Fund. Against this backdrop, the shares have jumped 14.4% today to trade at $2.14 -- and pare their year-to-date deficit to 36%.

On the sentiment front, short-term option traders have rarely been as put-skewed as they are now, per UNIS' Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.20 -- in the 85th annual percentile. Elsewhere, short interest accounts for 18.5% of Unilife Corp's available float -- or 21.1 times its average daily trading volume.

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