Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX) Puts Popular After Company Ends Study

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) is ending its cardiovascular study

by Josh Selway

Published on May 12, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) is taking a hit today, giving back 7.4% at $6.35, after the company announced it's ending its cardiovascular study with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The shares have found a place on the short-sale restricted list, and thus, traders are heading to the options pits for an alternative way to place bearish bets.

By the numbers, OREX puts are running at a rate 32 times what's normally seen at this point in the day, and outpacing calls by a margin of 15-to-1. The May 6 put has seen over 15,400 contracts cross, compared to only 1,200 for the next closest option. It appears traders are buying to open this out-of-the-money contract, expecting the shares to tumble below $6 by this Friday's close, when front-month options expire.

This emphasis on puts isn't new for OREX traders. The security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 1.18, telling us put open interest outweighs call open interest among options expiring in three months or less. Even more revealing, this ratio is only 2 percentage points from an annual peak. In other words, the stock's short-term speculators are more put-skewed than normal.

Things are much more bullish among the brokerage bunch, where all six firms tracking the stock consider it a "buy" or better. Not to mention, OREX's average 12-month price target of $13.57 is more than double current levels, and sits in territory not explored since early 2008.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) has hit a rough patch on the charts recently. The shares have underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 14 percentage points in the past month, and are now in danger of closing below their 20-week moving average for the first time since early November.

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