Drug Stock Hits Record Low After FDA Rejection

Options traders were call-heavy towards HRB ahead of earnings

Managing Editor
Jun 13, 2018 at 3:32 PM
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U.S. stocks are trading mixed, after the Fed raised its key interest rate, and increased its 2018 rate-hike forecast. While the Nasdaq continues to outperform, individual stocks making big moves today include tax preparation concern H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB), home energy solutions specialist Enphase Energy Inc (NASDAQ:ENPH), and drug stock scPharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SCPH). Below, we will take a closer look at how shares of HRB, ENPH, and SCPH are trading on the charts.

HRB Nosedives on Weak Forecast

HRB has plunged 16.7% to trade at $24.65 -- fresh off a new annual low of $23.33 --  after the company issued a weak full-year revenue and margin forecast, which overshadowed the tax preparer's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beats. What's more, the security saw its price target cut at BMO (to $25) and Morgan Stanley (to $27).

Heading into today, the stock was trading in year-to-date-high territory, and speculative players were betting on even bigger gains. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows HRB with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.63 -- in the 79th annual percentile. This ratio suggests H & R Block calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Echoing this, HRB stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.52 ranks in the 13th percentile of its annual range. In other words, traders are more call-heavy than usual among options set to expire in three months or less.

M&A Buzz Sends ENPH to Top of Nasdaq

Enphase stock is one of Nasdaq's top performers today, up 32.6% at $5.97, after the company revealed plans to buy SunPower (SPWR)'s microinverter sector for $25 million in cash and 7.5 million ENPH shares. Today's surge echoes the stock's longer-term trend, with ENPH up 627% year-over-year, and not far from its May 31 two-year peak at $6.37. Plus, the equity's recent pullback from here was quickly contained by its 80-day moving average.

In response, ENPH received price-target hikes from Cowen and Company (to $6.75) and H.C. Wainwright (to $9). This bullish sentiment is not unusual for the stock, where currently six out of seven firms following the energy stock sport a "strong buy" recommendation.

Short sellers have started to cover their record-high position, too. In the most recent reporting period, short interest on ENPH fell 1% from its May 1 all-time peak of 9.89 million shares, but still represents over 15% of the stock's total available float. At Enphase stock's average daily trading volume, it would take almost a week for shorts to cover their remaining bearish bets.

scPharmaceuticals' Edema Therapy Failed to Get FDA Approval

scPharmaceuticals stock is one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the company's edema drug, Furoscix. This plunge comes less than two weeks after the FDA released a letter of deficiencies in the drug, sending SCPH to its worst day ever. At last check, scPharmaceuticals is down 23% at $5.86, earlier hitting a record low of $5.61, and down 52% year-to-date.

The drug concern has been trading publicly for less than a year, and three brokerage firms follow it. The sentiment among these analyst is upbeat, with all three sporting "strong buy" ratings, while SCPH's average 12-month price target of $23.33 comes in at a more than 240% premium to current levels.

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