2 Drug Stocks Ripe For A Short Squeeze

SRPT stock is pacing for its best month since 2016

by Patrick Martin

Published on Mar 13, 2018 at 10:21 AM

Drug stocks Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BLCM) and Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT) are both trending higher this morning. Bellicum reported some encouraging interim drug data, while Sarepta was the subject of another bullish brokerage note. What's more, a short squeeze could add fuel to the fire for both BLCM and SRPT stocks.

Positive Cancer Drug Data Boosts Bellicum Stock

Bellicum stock is up 7% to trade at $8.60, after the company reported upbeat interim data on its bone marrow cancer treatment. Bellicum plans to initiate a pediatric registration study for the end of the year.

BRCM shares have gained more than 70% since touching a record low of $5.02 on Jan. 31, when they gapped lower on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) halt of BPX-501 trials following cases of brain damage. The stock today is now set to close atop its100-day moving average for the first time since mid-October.

A short squeeze could provide even more tailwinds for the drug stock. Short interest soared by 14% during the last reporting period, to 5.26 million shares. This represents nearly 19% of BLCM's total available float, and at the stock's average daily trading volume, nearly one week of pent-up buying power.

Credit Suisse Predicts Multi-Year Highs for Sarepta Stock

Sarepta Therapeutics stock is up 3.4% to trade at $82.08, and just notched a new 17-year high of $82.65, as analysts continue to wax optimistic on the company's recent drug news. Specifically, Sarepta yesterday said it plans to file for accelerated FDA approval of its Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug by the end of the year. As such, Credit Suisse this morning hiked its price target to $100 from $81 -- a 22% premium to the stock's current perch.

SRPT shares have carved out a path of higher highs and lows since mid-2017, guided by their rising 10-week and 20-week moving averages. The equity has now added more than 31% in March, on pace for its best month since September 2016.

Options traders have displayed bullish tendencies of late. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) confirms a substantial call bias, with long calls outnumbering long puts by a nearly seven-to-one ratio in the past two weeks.

SRPT remains heavily shorted, so some of this call buying -- particularly at out-of-the-money strikes -- could be short sellers using options to hedge against even more upside. As it stands now, short interest represents 16% of the stock's float, and based on average daily volumes, it'd take more than eight sessions for these bears to cover their positions.

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