Big Biotech Movers: IBB, MNKD, BLUE, FLDM, and AQXP

Biotechs are having another bad day, as evidenced by the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF's (IBB) sharp drop

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 7, 2015 at 12:51 PM

U.S. benchmarks are trading are lower today, as traders weigh the latest nonfarm payrolls report against the possibility of a September interest-rate hike. Additionally, a continued sell-off in biotechs -- as evidenced by a more than 2% plunge in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) --  is pressuring the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) to another loss, with the benchmark off nearly 0.9% at last check.

Put players are turning in a quick response to IBB's drop, with volume running at three times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Eleventh-hour speculators betting on even more losses through tonight's close appear to be buying to open the weekly 8/7 360-strike puts, while traders with a slightly longer-term -- and more bearish -- outlook are purchasing new positions at IBB's weekly 8/14 355-strike put. At last check, the exchange-traded fund was lingering near $362.50.

Drilling down on specific equities, MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) is off 1.5% at $4, extending its analyst-induced week-to-date decline to 6.8%. This volatile price action could continue next week, when MNKD joins a number of other notable names in the earnings confessional.

bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE), meanwhile, has plunged more than 16% to $131.65. Sending the shares to their lowest point since early May is a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss and revenue miss. The security is now in danger of closing south of its 140-day moving average for the first time since May 2014.

Having its worst day ever -- literally -- is Fluidigm Corporation (NASDAQ:FLDM), with the stock off 37% at $12.53, and fresh off a record low of $10.90. The company turned in lower-than-expected second-quarter sales, and downwardly revised its full-year revenue forecast, prompting a downgrade to "neutral" at Piper Jaffray, and price-target cuts from Mizuho (to $15), Cowen and Company (to $15), and Leerink (to $28).

On the other end of the spectrum is Aquinox Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AQXP), which has surged nearly fourfold to $6.91, after the firm yesterday announced positive mid-stage trial results for its bladder pain treatment. Additionally, AQXP said its second-quarter loss was less than Wall Street was expecting. The stock is now in the green on a year-to-date basis, and has effectively filled its early July bear gap.

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