Needham Turns Bullish on Biogen Stock, Call Traders Respond

Call volume is running at double what is typically seen at this point

Deputy Editor
Sep 23, 2021 at 10:30 AM
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The shares of Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) are up 2.7% at $297 this morning, following a bull note from Needham. The analyst in question initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating and a $400 price target, citing Alzheimer drug Aduhelm as a big seller in the long term as it predicted more than $6 billion in sales across the globe.

Needham joins a split brokerage bunch, though there is reason to believe that its bull note could be just the beginning for Biogen stock. Heading into today, 13 considered BIIB a "buy" or better, compared to 14 calling it a "hold." Meanwhile, the equity's 12-month consensus price target of $416.37 is a 39% premium to current levels.

Call activity is ramping up in response to the analyst attention. So far today, Biogen's normally quiet options pits have seen 1,755 calls exchange hands, which is double the intraday average, and more than three times the amount of puts across the tape. The most popular contract is the 9/24 300-strike call, where positions are being opened.

That bullish sentiment has been the norm as of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Biogen stock sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.60, which stands higher than 88% of readings in its annual range. This means calls have been picked up at a quicker-than-usual rate in the last two weeks.

What's more, BIIB options can still be had at a bargain. This is per the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 35%, which stands higher than just 6% of readings from the past 12 months. This means options traders are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations for the equity at the moment. 

On the charts, Biogen stock has trended lower since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  approved Aduhelm in June, losing over 30% between its June 7 record high of $468.55 and yesterday's low. The 320-day moving average has remained in place as a layer of support, though, and BIIB boasts a 21.4% year-to-date lead.


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