Raymond James Picks Editas Medicine Over Gene Editing Rival

Short interest remains high on CRSP and EDIT

by Josh Selway

Published on Sep 21, 2018 at 9:24 AM

Gene editing stocks have cooled in recent months after a big start to 2018. However, CRISPR Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) and Editas Medicine Inc (NASDAQ:EDIT) are back in focus today following analyst attention out of Raymond James. What's more, shares of both CRSP and EDIT are both trading near a key spot on the charts. We'll take a closer look at both names below.

Starting with CRISPR Therapeutics, Raymond James began coverage with an "underperform" rating. The bearish rating is the first of its kind on Wall Street, as five of the seven brokerage firms in coverage have "strong buy" ratings on CRSP.

As such, the stock is down 4.9% this morning at $46.59, and this follows a pullback in yesterday's session that came after the company announced a $200 million stock offering. The shares bottomed at the 200-day moving average yesterday, but today's losses have them set to close below the closely watched trendline for the first time in 2018.

This pullback is good news for CRSP bears. Put buying has been unusually popular at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), and short interest represents more than 11% of the float. These skeptics had already been in control, since the equity had shed almost 25% of its value in the past three months even before today.

Turning to EDIT stock, Raymond James is more bullish, starting coverage with an "outperform" rating and $40 price target. This will break the split of three "strong buy" and three "hold" ratings seen from the other analysts in coverage.

Like CRISPR, Editas has been flirting with its 200-day moving average, with the trendline acting as a ceiling in recent weeks. Even with the 1.9% rise today, the shares are still just below this moving average, last seen at $33.19. As for EDIT's three-month performance, it's given back more than 18% of its value.

Meanwhile, short interest is high on Editas Medicine, as well. Short interest stands at 13.4% of its float. Going by average daily volumes, it'd take short sellers more than two weeks to buy back their shares.


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