Skeptics Active as Buyout Buzz Fails to Lift Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO)

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) is failing to capitalize on unsubstantiated buyout speculation

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 5, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) jumped out of the gate on buyout rumors, but was last seen 5% lower at $8.58. The volatile price movement has caught the attention of options traders, with midday volume running at seven times the norm.

By the numbers, INO calls more than double puts -- 1,700 contracts to 850. However, not all of the calls are of the bullish variety. The most popular call is the January 2017 12 strike, and it appears contracts are being sold to open here. In other words, these call writers anticipate the shares will stay below $12 from now through January 2017 expiration. Looking back, INO most recently traded above $12 last October.

Today's preference for INO calls over puts is business as usual -- at least among short-term traders. The biotech stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.15, meaning call open interest outweighs put open interest by a nearly 7-to-1 margin, among options with a shelf-life of three months or less. What's more, this SOIR registers below 99% of comparable readings from the past year, hinting at a pronounced preference for short-term calls over puts.

As alluded to, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) is getting rocked today. Longer term, the shares are staring at a nearly 7% year-to-date deficit, but are sitting just above their recently supportive 10-day moving average.

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