Two Healthcare Stocks Moving In Opposite Directions

CERS stock is on track for its best day since May

Managing Editor
Jan 24, 2018 at 9:55 AM
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Two healthcare stocks are making noise this morning, for different reasons. Biotech Puma Biotechnology Inc (NASDAQ:PBYI) reported a setback with its cancer drug in Europe, while blood transfusion specialist Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) scored a big win with a late-stage study. Below is a quick look at shares of PBYI and CERS.

Puma Biotechnology Hit With Downgrade Amid Europe Concerns

Puma Biotechnology is down 26.8% to trade at $66.55 this morning, on track for its worst single-day session in over two years and landing on the short-sale restricted list, after the company indicated a European regulatory panel was unlikely to give the company's breast cancer drug, Neratinib, a positive recommendation. As a result, Cowen and Company downgraded the drug stock to "market perform" from "outperform," while also issuing a price-target cut to $68 from $123. Leerink, RBC, and Credit Suisse all significantly lowered their price targets, as well.

The news today has PBYI stock trading below its 200-day moving average for the first time since May, and short sellers are likely cheering today's collapse. The 2.67 million shares sold short represents a healthy 11% of PBYI's total available float, and nearly five days' worth of pent-up buying power. 

Cerus Stock Soars After Upbeat Study

Cerus Corporation announced its late-stage red blood cell transfusion study for thalessemia patients met its main efficacy and safety goals. At last check, CERS stock is up 17.3% to trade at $5.08, earlier touching an annual high of $5.24. The equity has been on fire lately, with strong support from the 50-day moving average helping it more than double in value over the past six months.

A short squeeze could provide more fuel for the equity. Although short interest fell 4% during the last two recent reporting periods, it still represents more than 9% of CERS' total available float. At the security's average pace of trading, it would take about 14 sessions for the remaining pessimistic positions to be repurchased.


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