AstraZeneca Stock Flat Despite Encouraging Vaccine Update

The stock is up 12.5% year-over-year

Deputy Editor
Nov 19, 2020 at 10:06 AM
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The shares of AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN) are up 0.3% at $54.14 this morning, relatively flat considering the British pharmaceutical giant became the latest drugmaker to provide an update on their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine, which AstraZeneca developed with Oxford University, is safe and produced a strong immune response in older adults, according to preliminary findings in a peer-reviewed phase two trial. The study was comprised of 560 healthy adults, with 240 individuals over age 70. Late-stage trials are being conducted to confirm the findings. 

On the charts, the equity has been jumping around between the $54 and $58 levels for the last few months, with the former acting as a safety net since early November. Longer term, the security has tacked on 12.5% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, calls are the popular choice in the options pits. The security sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 11.34 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits in the 74th percentile of its annual range. This suggests a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late.

Traders looking to speculate on AstraZeneca stock's next move may want to consider options. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 32% sits in the 24th 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.

One thing of note regarding options; AZN has consistently realized lower volatility than their options have priced in -- pointing to possible premium-selling candidates. Case in point; the equity currently ranks a 7 out of 100 on the Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS). 


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