Options Pop on Outperforming Gilead Stock After Trump Touts Treatment

Calls have been incredibly popular of late

Lillian Currens
Mar 19, 2020 at 3:16 PM
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While most stocks have bottomed out as the inescapable coronavirus-sparked selloff rages on, biotech name Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) has been a notable outperformer. The stock is up 3.4% at $82.12 and earlier hit a two-year high of $85.97 after U.S. President Donald Trump said the drugmaker's experimental coronavirus treatment remdesivir appears to have positive results, with the drug being administered to hospitalized patients through intravenous infusion over a span of several days. 

Just last week Schaeffer's founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer did a deep-dive into the surging pharma stock. Since then GILD has managed to add over 12%, and is up 25.4% for the year. Plus, the equity is eyeing a close north of the $80 level, which served as a ceiling prior to today. 

President Trump's mention of Gilead has sparked wild trading in the options pits today. So far, 230,000 calls and 47,000 puts have crossed the tape, nearly double what's typically seen at this point. Most popular is the March 20 85-strike call, where positions are being opened. Further down the list, positions are also being opened at the April 75 put. 

This tendency towards bullish bets isn't unusual. In fact, during the last 10 days, 9.17 calls have been picked up for every put at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio sits higher than all but 7% of readings from the past year, suggesting a much heartier appetite for long calls of late. 

 


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