2 Stocks Swinging Higher on Trump Tariff News

MDGL stock, meanwhile, is slumping

Sep 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM
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Stocks are higher today as Wall Street brushes off the latest headlines in the U.S.-China trade spat. Drilling down on individual names making notable moves today, wearable tech firm Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) and solar energy stock SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) are rising alongside the broader equities market, while liver disease specialist Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MDGL) is slumping. Here's a closer look at what's moving shares of FIT, SPWR, and MDGL.

Fitbit Options Bulls Eye a Bigger Breakout

Fitbit stock is up 5.5% to trade at $5.75, after the Trump administration excluded consumer gadgets -- including smartwatches -- from the newest round of tariffs. Nevertheless, the security is running out of steam near its 200-day moving average, which served as support earlier this month. Longer term, FIT shares are down 26% from their mid-June annual high of $7.79.

Today's pop has sparked a rush of activity in Fitbit's options pits, with roughly 30,000 calls and 9,700 puts on the tape -- almost four times what's typically seen at this point. Most active is the September 5 call, where it looks like new positions are being purchased for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.71. If this is the case, breakeven for the call buyers at this Friday's close, when front-month options expire, is $5.71 (strike plus premium paid).

SunPower Stock Reclaims Key Trendline After Tariff News

Some solar cells will also be excluded from the Trump's latest import taxes, sending SunPower shares 15.5% higher at $7.60 -- pacing for their best day since Nov. 2.  Plus, SPWR stock appears comfortably on track to close north of its 50-day moving average for the first time since late May.

Options traders appear to be betting on even more upside through week's end. Amid accelerated volume -- nearly 15,400 options have traded, about 10 times the average intraday amount -- the September 6.50 call has seen the most action. All signs suggest these calls are being bought to open for a VWAP of $0.37, making at-expiration breakeven for the call buyers $6.87.

Viking Therapeutics Liver Drug Data Pressures MDGL Stock

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals shares are sinking today after rival Viking Therapeutics (VKTX) reported positive mid-stage data for its liver disease drug. MDGL stock is down 10% at $205.41, breaching long-term support atop its 120-day moving average. Nevertheless, the shares are still maintaining a 123.8% year-to-date gain, and are holding above the round $200 level.

Short sellers are likely breathing a sigh of relief during today's pullback, even with MDGL stock on the short-sale restricted list. Short interest surged 16.7% in the two most recent reporting periods to 1.2 million shares. These bearish bets represent 16.7% of the equity's available float, or 7.1 times the average daily pace of trading.

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