3 Biotech Stocks Making Big Moves

Biotechs Novavax, Inc. (NVAX), NewLink Genetics Corp (NLNK), and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (PCRX) are all on the move

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Feb 29, 2016 at 3:10 PM

As the major indexes struggle for direction today, several biopharmaceutical stocks are making big moves on the charts. Among them are drugmakers Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX)NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ:NLNK), and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX).

  • NVAX is 8.7% lower at $4.30, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of analyst expectations. The shares hit an annual low of $4.08 earlier this month, and have lost more than 71% since their all-time high of $15.01, seen last August. Short sellers have already been betting heavily against the security -- nearly 22% of NVAX's available float is currently sold short, accounting for more than a week of trading, at the stock's typical daily volume. Option traders have been pessimistic, as well. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.52 is higher than 88% of all readings taken in the past year. Still, NVAX could be facing downgrades from the brokerage bunch -- all six analysts currently providing coverage rate the stock a "strong buy."
  • NLNK reported a slimmer-than-expected fourth-quarter loss this morning. The shares initially shot higher to the $23.80 level, but have since reversed course, last seen 1.1% lower at $21.39. The equity has given up 41% of its value so far in 2016, and has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by about 39 percentage points over the last three months. More than 29% of NLNK's total float is wrapped up in short interest, which would take over two weeks to buy back, at the stock's typical pace of trading. On the other hand, NLNK's 50-day call/put volume ratio on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX sits at an annual high of 14.86.
  • PCRX is down 8.9% at $51.04 -- on pace for a year-to-date closing low -- after Canaccord Genuity cut its price-target to $75 from $78, becoming the fifth brokerage firm to do so since the company's disappointing fourth-quarter earnings last Thursday. Still, six out of seven analysts rate the equity a "strong buy," without a "sell" in sight. Short interest on PCRX accounts for 22.6% of its available float, or 12 days' worth of trading, at the stock's typical volumes. And near-term option traders aren't far off a put-skewed extreme.The security has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.84 -- in the 98th percentile of its annual range.

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