Call Traders Eye Biotech Stock's Big Drop

Immunomedics delayed its breast cancer drug application to the FDA

Managing Editor
Sep 30, 2019 at 11:56 AM
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One of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq today is Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ:IMMU), after the company said it was delaying the submission of its application for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its breast cancer drug until late November or early December. IMMU is down 12.2% to trade at $12.50 at last check, on track for its fifth straight loss and worst single-session drop since Jan. 18. With the drug stock on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list today, IMMU options traders have been coming out in droves.

In just the first few hours of trading, already 4,000 options have changed hands, five times the average intraday volume and pacing for the 95th percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge is the January 2021 20-strike call, but there are also new positions being opened at the weekly 10/25 15-strike call.

For reference, IMMU hasn't traded at $20 since December 2018. It appears today's drop has run out of steam at the $12 level, an area that has contained pullbacks in the last year. During this time span though, the biotech stock has shed 40%.

Daily Stock Chart IMMU

The appetite for calls today echoes the recent trend. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.97 indicates calls outnumbered puts by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the past two weeks. Given that 32.7% of IMMU's total available float is sold short, it's possible some of these calls could be shorts hedging against any additional upside.

Whatever the motive, now is an opportune time to speculate on IMMU's short-term trajectory with options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 81% is in the 23rd percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term options on the security are relatively inexpensive at the moment, from a volatility standpoint.


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