3 Healthcare Stocks Going Haywire

ALDX is set to conquer a key technical ceiling after upbeat drug data

by Katie Coburn

Published on Sep 12, 2017 at 2:07 PM

U.S. stocks are trading higher this afternoon, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) setting a new intraday record, thanks to a rally in financial stocks. Among the names in the spotlight today are biotech stock Aldeyra Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ALDX), medical device maker Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEMD), and biotech company Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ICPT). Here's a quick look at what is moving shares of ALDX, AEMD, and ICPT

ALDX Breaks Through Technical Ceiling on Upbeat Drug Data

Aldeyra Therapeutics stock is up 58.9% to trade at $6.68, after the company announced positive results from a clinical trial study of its dry eye disease treatment. Earlier, ALDX shares touched an intraday high of $7.30 -- territory the stock hasn't visited since last October -- and is set to topple its 200-day moving average, which has served as a technical ceiling throughout 2017. Today's jump ranks ALDX as the top stock on the Nasdaq, and a short squeeze could send the shares even higher. Short interest represents six days' worth of pent-up buying demand, at ALDX's average daily trading volume.

Aethlon Medical Stock Soars After FDA Designation

Ranking right behind ALDX as the second best stock on the Nasdaq today is Aethlon Medical stock, last seen up 44% at $2.88. Earlier, AEMD rallied as high as $3.85, and was briefly in positive year-to-date territory. Driving AEMD shares higher is an Expedited Access Pathway designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to accelerate U.S. access to Aethlon's hemopurifier device, which treats life-threatening viruses.

Just over a month ago, AEMD touched a record low of $1.34 on Aug. 10. Though still down almost 32% year-to-date, the healthcare stock is pacing for its first close above its 160-day moving average since March. Some short sellers may be tempted to jump ship as AEMD rallies. Short interest on the stock grew by 10.8% in the most recent reporting period, and now represents 4.4 times' the stock's average daily trading volume -- plenty of fuel for a short-squeeze rally.

Ugly Drug Data Sends ICPT Stock to New Low

Moving in the opposite direction and ranking among the worst on the Nasdaq today is Intercept Pharmaceuticals stock, last seen down 13.9% at $97.76. The stock plunged to an 18-month low of $90.53 earlier, after the company warned that patients taking high doses of its liver drug have experienced serious liver injuries and death. This comes not even two months after news of a patient death during a mid-stage trial for the company's cholesterol drug.

Against this backdrop, Cantor Fitzgerald this morning reiterated an "underweight" rating and $69 price target on ICPT -- a discount of 29% to the stock's current price. Down roughly 36% in the past 12 months, ICPT could be vulnerable to additional bearish brokerage notes, as eight of the 13 analysts following the stock rate it a "strong buy."


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