Short Sellers Make a Killing in Qiagen's Collapse

Qiagen stock suffered a more than 20% decline on Tuesday

by Josh Selway

Published on Oct 9, 2019 at 10:38 AM

Life-sciences stock Qiagen NV (NYSE:QGEN) was one of the worst performers on Wall Street on Tuesday, losing more than 20% after the company's disappointing quarterly sales update and news its CEO was stepping down. Bearish analyst notes continue to roll in, with Deutsche Bank downgrading its opinion to "hold" last evening, while Cowen dropped its price target to $30 from $38. Elsewhere, many bears already made their move on QGEN stock.

For instance, short interest has been on the rise again, currently coming in at the highest point since January after a 19.1% increase in the last reporting period. While these bears are sidelined today with QGEN short-sale restricted, it's likely they are enjoying the stock's sell-off, as it hit a fresh three-year low of $25.04 today, last seen at $25.75.

Most analysts were already on the fence with Qiagen, with eight of the nine in coverage handing out "hold" recommendations through last night's close. However, the average 12-month price target is still up at $33.73, suggesting there's room for more price-target reductions to come through.

As for options traders, near-term open interest shows a heavy preference for calls. For instance, peak open interest is at the October 36 call, where 2,721 contracts sit, and right behind is the October 35 call, where there are 2,463 contracts. The next closest option has just 630 contracts in open interest.

Not surprisingly, the recent volatility has driven up premiums for short-term contracts, based on the 30-day at-the-money implied volatility of 55.2%. This reading ranks in the 100th annual percentile, showing volatility expectations have rarely been higher on QGEN.


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