AZN Moves Higher After Million-Dollar U.S. Government Investment

The stock is already up over 25% year-over-year

Digital Content Manager
Oct 12, 2020 at 9:48 AM
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The shares of AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) are up 0.8% at $55.18 this morning, after the British drug maker said the U.S. government will invest roughly $486 million in the development and supply of up to 100,000 doses of its COVID-19 antibody treatment. The company had already been planning to supply up to 100,000 doses to the U.S. starting in 2020, though the government could acquire up to an additional 1 million doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

On the charts, the equity has been trading sideways for the past couple of months. More recently, shares have been struggling with overhead pressure at the $55 mark, which in combination with the 50-day moving average is keeping a tight lid on the security. And while the stock's all-time-high of $64.94 on July 20 is far from reach, AZN still sports a 25.5% lead year-over-year.

Analysts are majorly optimistic towards the security, with six of the seven in coverage sporting a "strong buy" rating, and only one carrying a tepid "hold." Meanwhile, the 12-month consensus target price of $59.10 is an 8% premium to the stock's current perch.

That bullish sentiment is reiterated in the options pits, where calls are popular. In the last 50 days, 91,839 calls have been exchanged, compared to 17,102 puts. Plus, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.36 stands higher than just 39% of readings from the past year. This implies short-term option traders have rarely been more call-biased.

Traders looking to speculate on AstraZeneca stock's next move may want to consider options. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 35% sits in the 28th percentile of its annual range, suggesting short-term options are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations. In other words, the stock's near-term options are attractively priced at the moment.

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