Volume Heats Up as Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY) Gets Iced

Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:INSY) hit an annual low after reporting lower preliminary revenue for Subsys

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:11 PM
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Drugmaker Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:INSY) fell to an annual low of $13.20 this morning, after reporting declining preliminary fiscal first-quarter revenue for its narcotic pain drug, Subsys, which has drawn criticism in the past. Amid soaring volume, the stock was last seen down 23% at $13.59, with the day's huge drop landing INSY squarely on the short-sale restricted list (SSR). 

INSY is off 53% so far in 2016, and has given up more than 70% since hitting an eight-year high of $46.17 last August. But analysts have been relatively kind, giving the security two "strong buy" ratings and just one "hold."

Short sellers, however, have been plaguing INSY, with their bearish bets accounting for 26.5% of the stock's available float. At INSY's typical daily volume, it would take more than four weeks to cover all of these positions.

And with the equity sitting on the SSR list, many traders have taken to the option pits, where contracts are crossing the tape at twice their usual intraday rate. Though option volume is typically low, on an absolute basis, speculators have been picking up INSY calls over pits at an accelerated clip of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 21.11 is higher than 93% of the past year's readings. But this may not signal a flood of optimism -- the recent preference for long calls could, in fact, be short sellers looking to hedge their positions.

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