GW Pharmaceuticals Stock Hits Record High After DEA Nod

A regulatory ruling is also lifting PGTX stock

Sep 27, 2018 at 3:15 PM
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The U.S. equities market is getting a boost today from rising FAANG stocks. Among other names seeing significant upside are biopharmaceutical firms GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ:GWPH) and Protagonist Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PTGX), as well as uranium producer Cameco Corp (NYSE:CCJ). Here's a quick look at what's moving shares of GWPH, PTGX, and CCJ.

GW Pharmaceuticals Short Sellers are Getting Crushed

GW Pharmaceuticals stock hit a record high of $179.65 earlier, last seen up 6.7% at $174.07. Boosting the shares is news the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) labeled GWPH's cannabidiol-based (CBD) drug, Epidiolex, as a "Schedule V" -- the lowest classification for controlled substances. This comes just three months after the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

GWPH stock is now up 31.3% year-to-date, and short sellers have started throwing in the towel -- which could be fueling some of today's upside. Short interest edged down 2.8% in the most recent reporting period to 2.15 million shares. However, these bearish bets still account for a healthy 8.6% of the security's float, or 10.4 times the average daily pace of trading.

FDA Nod Has Protagonist Therapeutics Stock Surging

The FDA granted fast-track status to Protagonist Therapeutics' chronic anemia treatment, sending the shares up 18.4% to trade at $10.51. Today's bull gap has PTGX stock on track to close north of its 20-day moving average for the first time this month, but its running out of steam near its early August highs.

Even with the PTGX shares down 50% year-to-date, analysts have been mostly upbeat. While two of the three covering brokerages maintain a "buy" rating, the average 12-month price target sits all the way up at $16.67.

Tax Ruling Puts Cameco Stock on Track for Best Day in Years

U.S.-listed shares of Cameco have surged 15.6% to $11.37, after the Tax Court of Canada ruled in favor of the company in a tax dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency. This puts CCJ stock on track for its best day since late 2008, and brings its year-to-date advance to 23.2%. Plus, the security has easily sliced through recent congestion near its 320-day moving average.

The positive price action has sparked accelerated options trading on CCJ shares today, with 8,352 calls and 4,155 puts on the tape so far, three times what's typically seen at this point in the day. The January 2019 10-strike calls are most active, but it looks like traders may be liquidating the now in-the-money options -- a number of which were bought to open in mid-August, according to data from the major exchanges.


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