Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA) Options Fly on Earnings Upside

An earnings beat helped Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA) put the hurt on one bearish options trader

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 9, 2016 at 2:02 PM

While there are certainly exceptions, healthcare stocks are putting on a clinic today. Among the drugmakers blazing higher is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), last seen with a lead of 5.1% at $52.85 on upbeat earnings -- and after last Friday's annual low of $50. Not surprisingly, options traders are responding to the drug stock's bounce.

TEVA options are currently changing hands at triple the usual intraday rate. The single biggest trade centered on a block of nearly 11,400 June 60 calls, which -- according to Trade-Alert -- was bought to close after being sold to open last Thursday, as part of a two-legged call spread. However, it looks like the trader kept his long position in the September 60 strike open, anticipating further gains over the next four months.

Taking a step back, options sentiment has been decidedly negative toward TEVA in recent weeks. The stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 5.41 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) indicates more than five puts have been bought to open for each call in the last two weeks. What's more, this ratio ranks just 2 percentage points from a 12-month peak.

It's a far different story among analysts. Of the 18 brokerages tracking TEVA, 14 have doled out a "buy" or better opinion, compared to four "holds" and not a single "sell." However, the tide may be turning. Despite the stock's intraday gains, Maxim cut its price target to $70 from $74 -- perhaps shaken by TEVA's prediction of a 4% erosion this year in the price of generic drugs.

As alluded to, today's breakout is out of the ordinary, considering Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) has been a long-term technical embarrassment. Year-to-date, the drug stock has surrendered one-fifth of its value. On the plus side, though, the shares' free-fall was contained by the 200-week moving average last week, and today's upside move has them knocking on the door of the 160-week trendline.

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