Pandora Stock Eyes Record Gain After Earnings

The FDA approved Portola's antidote for uncontrolled bleeding in patients on blood thinners

by Emma Duncan

Published on May 4, 2018 at 3:07 PM

U.S. stocks are soaring this afternoon, as Apple's bullish nod from Warren Buffett creates positive buzz. Looking deeper at individual stocks, three that are making huge intraday moves are drug concern Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PTLA), engineering firm Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR), and music streaming name Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P). Here's a closer look at what's driving shares of PTLA, FLR, and P.

PTLA Pops Above 80-Day on FDA Approval

PTLA stock is  21.7% higher trade at $41.11, after receiving approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for its AndexXa antidote to stop uncontrollable bleeding in patients taking blood thinners. The drug stock gapped above its 80-day moving average in response, surpassing this key level of resistance for the first time since mid-February.

Analysts have already been on board with PTLA stock, with four of the five following the drug maker sporting "strong buy" recommendations. However, short interest has been ramping up, rising 13.6% during the past two reporting periods. Short interest now represents more than 10% of the stock's total available float, and it would take the shorts eight days to buy back all of their bearish bets, at PTLA's average daily volume.

FLR Gaps Lower on First-Quarter Shocker

Fluor stock gapped lower out of the gate after reporting a surprise first-quarter loss, and is down 22% to $46.06 at last check. In response, Canaccord Genuity downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy," and joined three other brokerage firms in cutting its price target on FLR. 

The stock has dropped below support at its 80-day moving average, and is on track to close below its 200-day trendline for the first time since November. Today's bearish gap also placed FLR in negative territory for 2018, with the shares now down nearly 11% year-to-date.

Ahead of earnings, optimism was running high among FLR options traders. The security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.27 ranks in the 3rd  percentile of its annual range, as speculative players have rarely been more heavily skewed toward calls over puts.

Pandora Surges Post-Earnings

Pandora stock is 24.6% higher to trade at $7.16 -- and on track for its biggest daily percentage gain ever -- after the company's first-quarter loss came in narrower than analysts expected. In response, both B. Riley and SunTrust Robinson upgraded the stock to a "buy," and P has received no fewer than seven price-target raises from various brokerage firms. The streaming stock is set to close above its 200-day moving average for the first time since March 2017, and is now up nearly 49% year-to-date. 

Pandora stock is likely benefiting from a short-squeeze situation today. Short interest represents 38% of P's total available float, or 9.7 times the stock's average daily trading volume.


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