Novartis Stock Pops on Endocyte Deal

NVS stock has been holding above its 200-day trendline in recent months

Oct 18, 2018 at 10:29 AM
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Switzerland's Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) said it will pay $2.1 bllion in cash for Endocyte (ECYT) -- or $24 per ECYT share -- hoping to capitalize on the Indiana-based drugmaker's prostrate cancer treatment. Novartis also reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit and raised its full-year revenue forecast, even as quarterly sales fell just short of the consensus estimate.

In reaction, NVS is up 0.9% to $86.08. The stock rallied hard off its late-June low at $72.30, which led to a breakout above its 200-day moving average in July. A pair of successful tests of this trendline sent Novartis to an eight-month high of $87.76. The shares went on to retrace 38.2% of this June-through-October surge, and bounced from the $82 region -- home to their 200-day trendline.

Short-term options traders are certainly betting on even more upside through week's end. The October 85 and 87.50 calls are home to peak open interest of 9,640 contracts, collectively. Data from Trade-Alert suggests the bulk of these calls -- which expire at the close tomorrow, Oct. 19 -- were bought to open.

The two analysts covering Novartis are upbeat, as well, with both maintaining a "strong buy" rating. Meanwhile, the average 12-month price target of $98.50 stands at a healthy 14% premium to current trading levels.


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