Options Hot as UniQure Stock Scales Nasdaq

One analyst called the drug data "a shot in the arm" for QURE

Patrick Martin
Nov 15, 2018 at 1:58 PM
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The shares of UniQure NV (NASDAQ:QURE) are up 42.1% to trade at $32.41, near the top of the Nasdaq today, after the pharmaceutical firm reported upbeat data for its hemophilia drug, and said it plans to launch a late-stage trial for the gene therapy early next year. Cantor Fitzgerald issued a price-target hike to $65 from $58 in response, while H.C. Wainwright called the data "a nice shot in the arm for UniQure." Aside from the bull notes, options traders are also piling on.

At last check, about 4,100 QURE options have changed hands-- nearly 10 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, with volume pacing for the 98th percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge is the December 30 call, but it's unclear if these options are being opened or closed.

Elsewhere, speculators are initiating new positions at the November 30 put, and it looks like some of the options are being bought. If this is the case, it seems options traders are bracing for a quick pullback from the stock by the time the options expire tomorrow. 

More broadly, the rate of call buying relative to put buying has been quicker than usual, albeit amid limited absolute volume. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows 1,809 calls were bought to open in the last 10 days, compared to just 12 puts. This resultant call/put volume ratio ranks 1 percentage point from an annual high.

In early September, UniQure NV stock nabbed a record high of $43.23, but promptly pulled back. The shares breached their 200-day trendline in early October, and hit a seven-month low of $21.98 yesterday. Thanks to today's boost, though, QURE is on track to close back above its 200-day trendline, and nab its first close above the 100-day moving average since Sept. 28.

Daily Stock Chart UniQure


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