AMRX Rally Misses the Mark for Option Bulls

Options traders were picking up the December 5 call in recent days

Dec 12, 2019 at 10:32 AM
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Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc (NYSE:AMRX) shares are up 34.2% this morning at $4.67, thanks to news the company's EluRyng -- a generic version of Merck's (MRK) NuvaRing -- was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While this price action has the healthcare concern on pace for its highest close since July, the rally so far may not be big enough for some options traders.

For instance, 646 long calls crossed the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) during the past 10 days, compared to just 18 puts, pointing to bullish expectations. The largest increase in call open interest during this time was at the December 5 strike, where buy-to-open activity was confirmed.

So far, AMRX shares have traded as high as $4.75 today, failing to reach the $5 level that those bulls were targeting. Either way, it appears many of these traders are closing positions already this morning, with nearly 2,000 of the December 5 calls crossing so far. Some of them may actually be rolling out their position to the January 2020 5-strike call, where new positions are being opened.

Even with today's gains, Amneal Pharmaceuticals remains down 65% in 2019, which helps explain the bearish tilt seen from analysts. By the numbers, eight of the 12 brokerage firms in coverage have "hold" or "strong sell" ratings on the shares.

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