3 Surging Drug Stocks

The Dow and S&P, meanwhile, are spiraling

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 24, 2018 at 3:11 PM
Updated on Sep 24, 2018 at 3:46 PM

The Dow and S&P 500 are selling off this afternoon, as uncertainty swirls around the fate of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Not all the day's action is to the downside, though, with biopharmaceutical names Akcea Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:AKCA), Amarin Corporation plc (NASDAQ:AMRN), and Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDRA) swinging higher. Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of AKCA, AMRN, and IDRA.

Akcea Therapeutics Stock Extends Bounce Off 200-Day

Akcea Therapeutics stock is up 10.3% to trade at $30.86, after the company reported positive mid-stage data for its heart disease treatment, which is being co-developed with Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS). Since bouncing off its newly formed 200-day moving average earlier this month, AKCA shares have surged 30%. Nevertheless, they are struggling to close a late-August bear gap north of $33.

It's possible short sellers have a hand in today's breakout, too. The 7.98 million AKCA shares sold short account for 58.4% of the stock's available float, or 16.3 times the average daily pace of trading.

Amarin Shares Boom After Vascepa Data

Amarin shares have nearly tripled in value today -- up 249.8% at $10.46, fresh off a five-year high of $11.85. Boosting the shares is news the firm's heart drug Vascepa met its goals in a recent study.

A round of upbeat analyst attention is stoking the bullish flames, with SunTrust Robinson and Cantor Fitzgerald lifting their price targets to $15. Even more impressive is Citi's outlook, with the brokerage firm raising its AMRN price target to $50 -- a 378% premium to current levels -- pegging Amarin as an attractive takeover target.

This volatile price action has sparked a rush of activity in AMRN's options pits, with roughly 47,000 calls and 45,000 puts on the tape so far -- six times what's typically seen, and total volume at a new annual high. Most active is the weekly 10/5 4.50-strike call, where data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms at least some buy-to-open activity here.

Idera Pharmaceuticals Stock Soars After Analyst Note

Barclays initiated coverage on Idera Pharmaceuticals stock with an "overweight" rating and $14 price target -- a 48% premium to current trading levels. In reaction, IDRA shares have surged 12.3% to trade at $9.49, though the surge is running out of steam near the equity's 80-day moving average -- a trendline that capped rally attempts in March and August.

Most analysts are already upbeat toward IDRA, with each one in coverage maintaining a "buy" rating. The average 12-month price target, meanwhile, sits all the way up at $18.33, and Barclays new Idera Pharmaceuticals price target is the lowest on Wall Street.

 


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