bluebird bio, Inc. (BLUE) Option Bears Disregard Technical Tenacity

bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE) has surged nearly sevenfold over the past 52 weeks

by Karee Venema

Published on Apr 29, 2015 at 1:55 PM

Put buyers have been active in bluebird bio Inc's (NASDAQ:BLUE) options pits of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.35 ranks in the 86th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster clip just 14% of the time within the past year.

It's a similar set-up in today's trading, with puts crossing the tape at slightly accelerated clip. Most active is BLUE's May 120 put, where it appears there could be some buy-to-open activity occurring. If traders are indeed purchasing new positions here, the goal is for BLUE to plunge below the $120 mark by the close on Friday, May 15 -- when front-month options expire. The options market doesn't seem too confident the put will be in the money at expiration, as delta is docked at negative 0.19.

This skepticism isn't echoed among the brokerage bunch, though. In fact, all nine analysts covering the shares maintain a "strong buy" rating. What's more, Piper Jaffray today boosted its price target on BLUE by $67 to $186 -- territory yet to be charted by the stock -- citing optimism over the firm's sickle cell anemia treatment, LentiGlobin. As a point of reference, BLUE's average 12-month price target currently rests at $141.13.

Technically speaking, the stock has been on fire -- surging nearly sevenfold over the past 52 weeks to trade at $134.14, and topping out at a record peak of $141.48 one week ago. As such, it's possible that some of the recent put buying -- particularly at out-of-the-money strikes -- is a result of shareholders protecting paper profits against an unexpected pullback.

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