3 Drug Stocks Making Outsized Moves Today

INSM and ARRY are both higher today

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jan 7, 2019 at 2:34 PM

Stocks are confidently higher today, powered by fresh U.S-China trade optimism. Drug stocks are in particular focus, as the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference kicks off. Insmed Incorporated (NASDAQ:INSM) and Array Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:ARRY) are soaring, while La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ:LJPC) is moving in the opposite direction. Below, we'll take a look at the news moving the shares of INSM, LJPC, and ARRY.

Strong Sales Data Has INSM Toppling Key Trendline

Earlier today, Insmed released the sales numbers for its lead lung disease drug, Arikayce. The $9.8 million in total product beat estimates by 400%, and has INSM up 41% to trade at $20.94, near the top of the Nasdaq. This is shaping up to be Insmed stock's best day since September 2017. On Dec. 24, the shares fell to an annual low of $11.31, but thanks to today's rally, are on track to topple their 160-day moving average for the first time since August. Insmed will discuss more updates at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference tomorrow.

A short squeeze could keep the wind at INSM's back. Short interest dropped by 4% in the last two reporting periods to 12.29 million shares. Yet this still represents almost 20% of the stock's total available float, and more than 17 days' worth of pent-up buying power, at its average pace of trading.

Analyst: ARRY Likely to Get Halo Lift From Eli Lilly-Loxo Deal

The Eli Lilly (LLY) acquisition of Loxo Oncology sparked a note from brokerage firm Leerink, which noted that the deal could boost the value of other companies in the targeted oncology universe. So far, it has done just that for Array Biopharma, with the stock at last check up 10.5% to trade at $17.35. Today's rally appears to have lost steam below the $17.50 level, an area that turned ARRY away back in November. Nevertheless, the shares still boast a 32% lead year-over-year.

Shorts have begun to taper off, with short interest down 1% in the last two reporting periods. However, the 18.10 million shares sold short represents a healthy 10.6% of ARRY's total available float and eight times the average daily trading volume, so a capitulation from some of the weaker bearish hands could create tailwinds for the shares. 

Ugly Guidance Sends LJPC To Nearly Five-Year Bottom

It's not all sunshine and rainbows in the biotech sector today, though. La Jolla Pharmaceuticals stock is down a whopping 44.1% to trade at $5.88, and earlier fell to a nearly five-year low of $5.74. Driving the stock to the bottom of the Nasdaq and towards its worst day since 2011 is the company's fourth-quarter sales miss, as well as an ugly guidance for 2019. 

Even prior to today's drop, LJPC shares were down 36.5% year-over-year, carving out a channel of lower lows since an early August bear gap and under pressure from their 20-day moving average. A majority of analysts are still bullish, with exactly two-thirds in coverage maintaining a "strong buy" rating, and the consensus 12-month price target sitting all the way up at $48.17, territory not seen since 2012. 


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