Drug Stock Scaling the Nasdaq on a Halo Lift

TrueCar stock is eyeing new lows after its CEO announced his retirement

by Lillian Currens

Published on Jun 3, 2019 at 2:13 PM

While the Dow is currently trading around breakeven, the tech-rich Nasdaq is down triple digits on regulation concerns for FAANG stocks. Two stocks that have also captured Wall Street's attention today are biopharmaceutical concern Mirati Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:MRTX) and car-pricing database name TrueCar Inc (NASDAQ:TRU). Below, we will dig into into what's driving the shares of MRTX and TRU.

MRTX Shares Among Best of Nasdaq on AMGN Drug Win

MRTX is one of the top gainers on the Nasdaq today, on a halo lift from drugmaker Amgen (AMGN), which announced that its new cancer treatment targeting KRAS genetic mutations yielded a high response rate in patients with lung cancer. Mirati, which is also working to develop a drug that targets the same cell mutation, has seen its shares rise 35.1% to $91.57 as a result. What's more, analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said Amgen's "results should read positive for MRTX stock."

Not only are MRTX shares scaling the Nasdaq today, they've already hit a record high of $96.70, and are on pace for their best day since November 2017. Today's surge has options bulls at the helm, with 11,000 calls across the tape so far -- nearly nine times the average intraday volume. It looks like several traders are trying to cash in on today's surge, seemingly selling to close their now in-the-money June 75 calls. 

CEO Retirement Sinks TRUE Stock

Car concern TRUE is eyeing its lowest close in over three years, after CEO Chip Perry announced his retirement, with Michael Darrow appointed as the interim president and CEO. The stock is down 14.8%, at $5.55, and earlier fell as low as $5.50. The equity is set for its worst session since a February bear gap, and is now more than 60% off its peak at $14.55 last September. 

While today's price action has placed TRUE squarely on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list, its recent behavior on the charts has had short sellers upping the bearish ante. In the last two reporting periods, short interest rose 9.6%, with the 9.1 million shares sold short representing a healthy 9.8% of the stock's float. At the security's average pace of trading, it would take almost six days to cover all these pessimistic positions. 

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