Options Bulls Swarm KPTI Stock After Earnings

KPTI call options are hot as the drug stock hits new highs

by Lillian Currens

Published on Nov 4, 2019 at 3:21 PM

The shares of Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:KPTI) hit an annual peak of $14.20 earlier, and are eyeing their highest close since a massive bear gap last October, following the drugmaker's third-quarter results. The firm posted a slimmer-than-expected per-share loss of 67 cents, and $12.8 million in sales for its multiple myeloma oral drug, Xpovio, which shot way past the $1.8 million anticipated by Wall Street.  At last check, KPTI stock is up 8.2% at $13.56, and options traders are going wild. 

Leerink chimed in with a price-target hike to $17 from $15. Analysts were already on board KPTI's bullish bandwagon, though. The consensus 12-month target price of $21.38 is still a hefty 58.2% premium to current levels. Plus, all six brokerage firms in coverage call it a "strong buy." 

Options players have been incredibly bullish of late, too. Albeit amid light absolute volume, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), 21.7 calls were bought for every put during the last 10 weeks. This ratio sits in the 83rd percentile of its annual range, suggesting a bigger-than-usual appetite for long calls over puts of late. 

Today, it's more of the same in the options pits, with 3,336 calls across the tape -- eight times the intraday average -- compared to only 429 puts. It looks as if quite a bit of buying activity is happening at the November 15 and 12.50 calls, with positions being opened at the former. By purchasing 15-strike calls to open, the buyers expect KPTI shares to muscle atop $15 by the close next Friday, Nov. 15, when front-month options expire.

Following KPTI's recent earnings report, options are fairly cheap right now. Currently, KPTI's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 83% is in the 8th percentile of its annual range, indicating near-term options are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations right now. 

This recent optimism isn't surprising. Since bottoming out at a record low of $3.92 in early March, the stock has more than tripled, with solid support at its 60-day moving average catching several pullbacks in recent months. What's more, the security managed a one-month gain of 21.6% for October -- its biggest since July -- and is now up 46% for the year. 

KPTI Chart Nov 4


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