Stocks On the Move: Akorn, Inc., Chevron Corporation, and Performant Financial Corp

Biotech Akorn, Inc. (AKRX), blue-chip oil stock Chevron Corporation (CVX), and tech stock Performant Financial Corp (PFMT) are making big moves in today's trading

Dec 12, 2016 at 1:28 PM
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U.S. stocks are mixed, as crude oil prices rally on an expanded output cap agreement. Among specific equities in focus today are biotech Akorn, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX), blue-chip oil stock Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), and tech stock Performant Financial Corp (NASDAQ:PFMT). Here's a quick look at what's moving AKRX, CVX, and PFMT.

  • AKRX is up 8.3% at $20.15, after the drugmaker announced its Decatur facility passed re-inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is a much-needed boost for the shares, which are still down by over 45% in 2016, and just last week were within striking distance of new two-year lows. Short sellers have been jumping ship as of late, with AKRX's short interest down 18.3% over the last two reporting periods. Nevertheless, there's likely plenty of short sellers sweating today's price action, given shorted shares still account for 12.2% of Akorn, Inc's float, which would take nearly nine days of trading to cover, at AKRX's average daily volume.

  • CVX is up 1.9% at $118, as the stock follows the oil rally higher, notching a two-year high of $18.99 earlier today. CVX has been on a steady trek higher since late October, and has added roughly 15% in three months. Nevertheless, near-term option players have been especially put-skewed as of late, with Chevron Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.42 sitting in the 80th percentile of its annual range.
  • PFMT is trading 38.1% lower at $2.39, after announcing it had not been chosen as one of the Department of Education's seven contractors for unrestricted recovery. PFMT -- which was halted earlier -- is currently on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list, and is among the worst performers on the Nasdaq. What's more, Compass Point downgraded PFMT to "neutral" from "buy," and sliced its price target to $3 from $4.50. Prior to today, the shares had been on a steady path of higher highs since July, and had more than doubled year-to-date.  Plus, option buyers were getting quite the bargain, with premiums near an annual low before today's nosedive. Performant Financial Corp's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 108% sat lower than 96% of all other readings from the past year, indicating near-term option players were pricing in historically low volatility expectations.
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