2 Surging Pharma Stocks; Student Loan Lawsuit Pummels Navient Stock

Navient shares are short-sale restricted after Pennsylvania's attorney general filed a lawsuit against the company

Managing Editor
Oct 5, 2017 at 2:56 PM
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U.S. stocks are trading higher again this afternoon, with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all notching fresh record peaks. Biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) and pharma stock Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) are soaring, while consumer lending name Navient Corp (NASDAQ:NAVI) is sinking amid fresh legal woes. Here's a quick look at what is moving shares of REGN, BIIB, and NAVI.

Praluent Reversal Sends Regeneron Stock Soaring

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals scored a big win today, after a U.S. appeals court threw out a sales ban on the company's cholesterol drug Praluent -- developed with Sanofi (SNY) -- a blow to Amgen, which said the treatment infringed on its patents. After being halted earlier, REGN stock is currently up 2.8% to trade at $478.75, has tacked on 28% year-to-date, and could be headed for even bigger fourth-quarter gains.

More recently, the shares took a sharp bounce off their 180-day moving average last month. Analysts might want to rethink their bearish stance, too, should REGN's rally off this former layer of resistance continue. Of the 21 brokerages covering the stock, 12 rate the shares a "hold" or worse.

Analyst: Biogen Alzheimer Pipeline a "Must-Own Catalyst"

Biogen stock is up 3.3% to trade at $325.39 -- earlier touching a two-year high of $330.98 -- after Morgan Stanley upgraded the pharma name to "overweight" from "equal weight," while also boosting its price target to $375 from $311. The brokerage firm waxed optimistic on Biogen's pipeline of drugs, saying its Alzheimer's treatments create a "a must-own catalyst." BIIB stock is up 25% year-to-date, but is running out of steam near the pesky $330 level.

In the options pits, traders have been bracing for a pullback. BIIB has a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.87 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which ranks in the 70th percentile of its annual range. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

Furthermore, prices are tame on near-term Biogen options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 23% ranks lower than 96% of all comparable readings taken in the past year, meaning low volatility expectations are being priced in.

Navient Stock Pacing for Worst Day Ever

Navient stock is down 13.3% to trade at $12.74 earlier tagging a new annual low, and on track for its worst one-day percentage loss to date -- after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit today against the lending company, alleging "deceptive practices and predatory conduct" toward student loan borrowers. This is the third state to file such a lawsuit against Navient.

NAVI stock is now staring at a 22.4% year-to-date deficit, and short sellers are likely cheering. Though the stock is short-sale restricted today, short interest for NAVI increased by 14.25% during the last two reporting periods to 8.27 million shares, its highest point since mid-June.



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