Clovis Oncology Inc (CLVS) Calls Hot On Halo Lift

Clovis Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:CLVS) is soaring today on well-received drug data for TESARO Inc (NASDAQ:TSRO)

by Karee Venema

Published on Jun 29, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Biotechs are having a huge day, as evidenced by the 2% pop in the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB). Among the day's big individual gainers is Clovis Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:CLVS), which is getting a halo lift from well-received drug data for fellow cancer specialist TESARO Inc (NASDAQ:TSRO). At last check, CLVS stock was up 17% at $14.45 -- and call options are flying off the shelves.

By the numbers, 2,664 calls have changed hands on CLVS thus far, more than nine times the expected intraday amount of 283 contracts. As a point of comparison, fewer than 550 puts have crossed the tape. Most of the day's call volume occurred when a block of 2,000 July 17.50 calls was opened earlier for $0.30 apiece, but given the wide bid-ask skew, it's impossible to tell at this point whether the options were bought or sold.

As suggested, options volume on CLVS is relatively low from an absolute standpoint. However, those purchasing new positions in the past two weeks have shown a clear preference for puts over calls. Specifically, the stock sports a top-heavy 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.92 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- in the 98th percentile of its annual range.

Echoing this is put-skewed backdrop is CLVS' Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.04, which rests higher than 88% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. In other words, speculative players are more put-heavy than usual toward options expiring in three months or less.

Outside of the options pits, more than 41% of the stock's float is sold short, accounting for 8.20 million shares. This is just below the record-high short interest of 8.22 million shares logged during the May 15 reporting period. It would take nearly two weeks to cover these shorted shares, at CLVS' average daily pace of trading.

On the charts, today's positive price action is a stark contrast to the stock's longer-term trajectory. Since notching a record high of $116.75 last September, shares of Clovis Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:CLVS) -- which is also developing an ovarian cancer drug similar to TSRO -- have shed almost 88%. Most of this is due to a drug-related mid-November bear gap, with CLVS hitting a three-year low of $11.57 on Monday.

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