GILD Jumps After FDA Expands Use of COVID-19 Treatment

The equity is down over 15% this quarter, however

Digital Content Manager
Aug 31, 2020 at 9:59 AM
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The shares of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) are up 0.4% at $65.53 at last check, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded emergency use of remdesivir, the company's experimental COVID-19 treatment. The drug can now be used to treat all hospitalized patients with coronavirus, in addition to patients with a severe form of the illness.

On the charts, the stock has been extremely volatile as of late. Shares hit a three-year high of $85.97 on March 19, with another run at this peak in mid-April. This surge was short-lived however, and now the security is fighting overhead pressure at the $66 mark, after spending several months above the level. Quarter-to-date, GILD is down 15.2%. 

Analysts are mostly hesitant towards the stock, with 14 of the 21 in coverage sporting a tepid "hold" or worse, and the remaining seven carrying a "buy" or better rating. Meanwhile, the 12-month consensus price target of $77.75 is a 18.5% premium to current levels.

That unenthusiastic sentiment is not echoed in the options pits, where calls are more popular. In fact, 214,683 calls were were exchanged in the past 50 days, compared to 49,009 puts. However, GILD's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.58 stands higher than 71% of readings from the past year, implying short-term options traders have been more put-biased than usual.

Traders looking to speculate on GILD's near-term trajectory should consider options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 27% is in the 10th percentile of its annual range, suggesting short-term options are pricing in relatively low volatility expectation. In other words, the stock's near-term options are attractively priced at the moment.

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