Corbus Leads Nasdaq on Drug Licensing Deal

Downgrades are burying BRKR and WLH today

Managing Editor
Sep 20, 2018 at 3:05 PM
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The Dow and S&P 500 are flying to new heights today, thanks to cooling trade tensions with China. Among stocks making notable moves today are drug concern Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CRBP), medical device specialist Bruker Corporation (NASDAQ:BRKR), and homebuilding name William Lyon Homes (NYSE:WLH). Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of CRBP, BRKR, and WLH.

CRBP Calls Hot After Licensing Deal

Corbus Pharmaceuticals scored a big win this morning, securing a licensing deal with Jenrin Discovery LLC. The deal gives Corbus exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, and sell drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system. In response, the stock is up 55.1% to trade at $8.03 -- one of the best stocks on the Nasdaq, after being halted for volatility earlier in the day. CRBP is on track for its largest daily gain since December 2014, and is now back in positive territory for 2018.

Options traders are targeting calls with renewed vigor today. Nearly 10,500 call contracts are on the tape, 82 times the average intraday amount and already more than five times the previous annual high. Leading the charge is the October 7.50 call, where new positions are being opened for a volume weighted average price (VWAP) of $1.23. 

BRKR Extends Skid After Downgrade   

Bruker stock is down 6.5% to trade at $32.64, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the medical equipment maker to "underweight" from "equal-weight," while raising its price target to $32 from $31. In the bear note, the firm said it sees end-market drivers and organic growth decelerating as 2018 ends.

BRKR is on track for its worst day since October 2016, and is currently mired in a five-day losing streak. Plus, the stock has dropped below its year-to-date breakeven point of $34.32.

An analyst stepping to the sidelines is nothing new for Bruker stock. Currently, 10 of the 12 brokerages covering BRKR rate it a tepid "hold," and the stock's average 12-month price target of $34.67 is right below last night's closing perch of $34.89.

Weak Home Prices a Concern For WLH Stock

William Lyon Homes stock is down 7.2% to trade at $17.31 -- one of the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today-- after Wedbush downgraded the homebuilder to "neutral" from "outperform" while slashing its price target to $22 from $35. Weakening home prices in vital markets such as California and Seattle are causes for concern, according to the analyst.

WLH earlier fell to a one-and-a-half year low of $16.87, and has now given back more than 40% in 2018. The shares have carved out a path of lower lows since May, with resistance coming into play from WLH's 30-day moving average.

There is still ample room aboard the bearish bandwagon. Although short interest has doubled since July 1, the 1.61 million shares sold short represents only 5.7% of WLH's total available float. 


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