Barclays Downgrade Keeps Pressure On PTC Therapeutics Stock

PTCT options traders have been call heavy over the past 10 weeks

Managing Editor
Apr 4, 2018 at 9:47 AM
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Shares of PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT) are trading lower this morning after Barclays downgraded the stock to "underweight" from "equal weight" while simultaneously raising its price target to $26 from $24. An analyst from the firm said the company's growth potential is already priced into the share price. PTCT was last seen down 3.7% at $25.16 in early trading. 

Despite its recent decent from its March 21 two-year high of $33.22, PTC Therapeutics stock is still up 50% in the past 12 months, though it recently fell below the 50-day moving average. Analyst sentiment surely isn't optimistic, with five of the six following PTCT carrying "hold" or worse recommendations.

Meanwhile, sentiment has been seemingly bullish in the options pits. Currently, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows PTCT with a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.88, ranking in the 73rd percentile of its annual range. This indicates that calls have been bought over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past 10 weeks, though volume has been muted on an absolute basis.

This call bias could be related to elevated short interest levels, since short interest represents more than 20% of the stock's total available float. At the stock's average daily trading volume, it would take more than a week for the shorts to cover their bearish bets. In other words, short sellers may be using call options to hedge against unexpected upside.


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