Arbutus Biopharma Stock Dips on Dropped 'Buy' Rating

B. Riley cut its rating on outperforming ABUS to 'neutral'

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:06 AM

Shares of Arbutus Biopharma Corp (NASDAQ:ABUS) are sinking this morning, as traders react to negative analyst attention. Specifically, B. Riley downgraded ABUS stock to "neutral" from "buy," saying the shares have already priced in royalty opportunities from Alnylam's (ALNY) patisiran drug, and noting ABUS' outperformance already this year. Just yesterday, in fact, Arbutus stock notched a two-year high of $9.15, but today is down 9.6% to trade at $8.25.

Even with this morning's pullback, ABUS still sports a year-over-year gain of more than 120%. Further, the drug stock is still up more than 17% this week, on pace for its best week since September -- not to mention this was a shortened holiday week. As such, the equity's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) stood at a lofty 83 at yesterday's close, well into overbought territory.

It's not surprising to find that most analysts are in the bullish camp. Arbutus Biopharma stock boasts three "strong buy" endorsements, compared to one tepid "hold." However, short sellers are beginning to circle the outperformer. Short interest on ABUS surged 19.3% in the most recent reporting period, and now represents about four sessions' worth of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average pace of trading.

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