Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (PTX) Catches Fire on Point72 Stake

According to a regulatory filing, Point72 Asset Management has taken a 5.8% stake in Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (PTX)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 2, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PTX) is putting on a show, up nearly 40% at $1.04 after a regulatory filing revealed hedge fund Point72 Asset Management took a 5.8% passive stake in the drugmaker. Another big move could be ahead, with PTX slated to report earnings before the open this Thursday. Ahead of the event, short-term options traders have grown call-skewed.

Diving into the data, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.02. In other words, PTX calls outstrip puts by a 50-to-1 margin among options expiring in the next three months -- though trading volume is light overall, and with the shares in penny-stock territory, it's not too surprising to find a call skew. Meanwhile, the aforementioned SOIR ranks below 90% of all comparable readings recorded in the past year, confirming a relative call bias. Digging deeper, in the front-month May series, call open interest registers at 1,374 contracts compared to just 28 puts.

Elsewhere on the sentiment front, short sellers have been turning tail. In fact, short interest fell 11.4% during the latest reporting period. Nevertheless, over 14% of PTX's float remains dedicated to short interest, which -- at the stock's average trading levels -- would take more than a week to cover. It's possible some of the recent call traders -- specifically, those who purchased fresh out-of-the-money positions -- were short sellers picking up insurance against a sharp upside move.

Taking a step back, today's sharp gains in Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PTX) represent a change of pace. Even after accounting for this morning's bullish gap, the drug stock has lost nearly two-thirds of its value in 2016. Moreover, PTX's intraday highs were contained by the 50-day moving average, which has capped a number of recent rallies -- including one in early March.

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