Stifel Calls Aratana Therapeutics a 'Buy' on Entyce, Galliprant Optimism

PETX stock is trading up more than 6% after the bull note

Mar 27, 2018 at 10:38 AM
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Shares of Aratana Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PETX) have shot up 6.2% to trade at $4.11, after Stifel upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold" -- joining the majority of analysts in coverage -- and lifted its price target to $8 from $6, territory not charted since February 2017. The brokerage firm cited expectations the company's Entyce drug, which stimulates appetite in dogs, will become a main revenue driver, while its canine osteoarthritis treatment, Galliprant, could help boost the stock price.

Today's positive price action runs counter to PETX's longer-term trend, with the shares down 17.6% year-over-year, and off 43% from their late-November highs near $7.30. More recently, the stock's 50-day moving average emerged as a ceiling during a rally attempt earlier this month, and is currently located just overhead at $4.32.

Against this backdrop, short sellers have been cashing in their winning bets. Since its early May peak, short interest on PETX stock is down almost 45% to 2.62 million shares. This still represents a healthy 7% of the equity's available float, though, or 12.4 times the average daily pace of trading.

And while options activity has been relatively muted on PETX, the preference has been for calls over puts. There are currently 2,003 calls open on Aratana Therapeutics, compared to 365 puts. The May 7.50 call is home to peak open interest, while the May 5 call comes in second.

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