Buzz Stocks: Ophthotech Corp, Achaogen Inc, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Ophthotech Corp (NASDAQ:OPHT), Achaogen Inc (NASDAQ:AKAO), and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN)

by Josh Selway

Published on Dec 12, 2016 at 9:31 AM

U.S. stock futures are trading below fair value this morning, despite a huge rally in oil prices. Among specific equities in focus today are biotech stocks Ophthotech Corp (NASDAQ:OPHT), Achaogen Inc (NASDAQ:AKAO), and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN). Here's a quick look at what's driving OPHT, AKAO, and ALXN.

  • OPHT is looking at an 82% sell-off when the market opens, after the company's vision-loss treatment failed to reach its goals in two phase 3 trials. The shares will now open in all-time-low territory below the $7 mark. For reference, Ophthotech Corp started the year near the $80, and closed Friday at $38.77. So far SunTrust Robinson weighed in with a downgrade to "hold" from "buy," and a price-target cut to $7 from $100, while Chardan Capital lowered its rating to "neutral" from "buy." More bearish analyst notes now seem likely, since all nine brokerage firms covering the stock considered it a "buy" or "strong buy" as of Friday's close. 
  • News that its primary antibiotic, plazomicin, succeeded in two keys studies has shares of AKAO up 43.1% in pre-market trading. The drug company now plans to submit marketing materials to U.S. and European regulators late next year and early 2018. The pending move would put the stock at an annual high, after closing Friday slightly below its year-to-date breakeven point at $5.25. Short-term options traders, however, appear ill-prepared for such a move. Achaogen Inc's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.70 is a 12-month high, meaning options traders targeting contracts expiring within three months are the most put-skewed they've been in a year. 
  • ALXN is set to drop over 13% this morning, following news the company's CEO and CFO have stepped down amid its internal accounting probe. David Brennan will take over as interim CEO, while David Anderson will step in as CFO. At $132.07, ALXN had shed almost 31% in 2016, but it seems a number of short sellers will miss today's slide. For instance, short interest on Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. declined by 19.4% during the last two reporting periods. 

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