EpiPen Drama Draws Option Bears to Mylan NV (MYL)

U.S. senators are targeting Mylan NV (NASDAQ:MYL) after a sharp increase in the price of its EpiPen

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:10 AM

Drugmaker Mylan NV (NASDAQ:MYL) is sinking today, as the company's EpiPen comes under fire from U.S. senators. More specifically, lawmakers are asking Mylan to explain a sharp increase in the product's price in recent years -- making it the latest biotech to be accused of price-gouging. Senate members have also made a request for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether the drug company took steps to prevent competition in the market. Meanwhile, MYL stock is down 3.8% at $46.10, and options volume is soaring

At last check, MYL options volume is running in the 95th percentile of its annual range. Puts and calls are running neck and neck, trading at three times the expected intraday pace. Receiving notable attention are the October 45 and 47.50 puts. If traders are opening long positions here, they're betting on extended losses from MYL over the next two months. 

More broadly speaking, calls have been preferred over puts in MYL's options pits. Over the past two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), call buying has outpaced put buying at a rate that tops roughly two-thirds of comparable readings from the past year. What's more, MYL's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.69 ranks in the 23rd annual percentile, meaning open interest in the front three-months' series of options is unusually call-skewed. 

Luckily, for anyone buying MYL's short-term options, premium is relatively muted at the moment. This is evidenced by the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 33%, which ranks in the low 14th percentile of its annual range. Supporting this is MYL's 30-day at-the-money (ATM) implied volatility (IV) of 33.7%, which is just 9 percentage points from an annual low. In short, it appears the options market is pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment.

Meanwhile, short interest is elevated on MYL. At the stock's average daily trading pace, it would take short sellers at least eight days to buy back the roughly 29 million shares sold short. Of course, this also means some of the recent call players may have been short sellers hedging their positions

Looking at Mylan NV's (NASDAQ:MYL) chart, the shares have struggled in 2016. Although the stock is well off its year-to-date lows, it remains 14.7% lower since the start of the year. Going forward, MYL's 100-day moving average -- which currently sits near the $45 level -- may be worth tracking, as this trendline has served as both support and resistance in the past year. 

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