Certainly there's a halo effect. The Amex Biotech Index is up 4.2% today, which puts MDVN just slightly ahead of the average. IBB, the popular pharma ETF is up 2.2% at this point. And my own pharma overweighted portfolio is booming. Curiously, the one stock which is not participating yet is PCYC, which surely has serious prospects. The other sure sign that we're in a serious rally here is that our board troll is back with more news about the fictitious generic Zytiga, now marked down further.
Yes, the jackals are slinking around the kill, looking for scraps. I think all boards of directors carry insurance policies to protect themselves against these suits nowadays. Which of course attracts more of these guys. Four different firms are now soliciting shareholders. Since the deal was just announced, do you think that they really have any evidence of malfeasance? Naw. Just hoping to be paid by the insurance company to go away.
Wells Fargo Thursday: Downgrade, acquisition price "baked in" at 53. And they get paid for this stuff.
Yeah, I'm grumpy, too - I was hoping that someone would buy it for stock. Now I've got to pay taxes on all these gains. Life is tough.
Other than for a daytrade, almost no one is reckless enough to short this stock. Those who claim to be short have really only bought some puts, hoping to profit from a dip without risking major losses. In fact, having done a good deal of shortselling myself, I can tell you that it's generally foolish to short a rising market (aka "Don't fight the tape.") And shorting a pharma stock, where an FDA approval or early results from a clinical trial can pop the stock instantly is particularly dangerous. When I saw that the pharma stocks were stalling out on February 24-5, I unloaded many of my positions in my IRA and a few in my taxable accounts. But, other than a modest short of CLDX, I couldn't muster up the courage to take short positions in individual stocks. The safer approach, I now realize, would have been to short the IBB or one of the other pharma ETF's. Incidentally, the tax bill I will get as a result of unloading positions in CELG in my taxable accounts, plus the loss resulting from the fact that I never bought it back again in one account, are sizable.
There is a tendency to demonize shorts as vultures. In fact, just like vultures, shorts serve a useful purpose.
They tend to put a damper on both upward and downward movement. In particular, when a stock is plummeting, shorts are sometimes the only buyers to hold it up. On the other hand, if I am taking a position in an out-of-favor stock ahead of earnings, I like to see a large short position in place, since they will accelerate the bounce. Interestingly, the fact that this stock did not bounce immediately after the blowout earnings report was due to the fact that there were too few short positions.
Whenever I see a fast runup at the open followed by a slow walk down, I assume that there is some organized selling going on. I'd also say that the flatline around 101.25 was probably indicative of put buying or perhaps even outright shortselling. I sold half my IRA shares around 101.40, bought back half of those when it crossed back over 100. I still expect it to hang around here for a while in the absence of news and perhaps move briefly down to the 97.50 level. There's just a little too much certitude on the part of retail investors.
Pathetic to see those who slap themselves on the back over a 50 cent price drop when they should be kicking themselves for missing a stock which has almost doubled over the past year.
Still outside with the other bitter Dendreonites looking through the window at the partyin the big house? Zytiga was turned down by Nice for pre-chemo use not becauseof its price, but because Jannsen screwed up and ended their trial before they had proved an overall survival benefit, which leaves their QALY equation without a denominator. Medivation isnot making that mistake. Combined with the NICE ruling that they would not pay for administering both Zytiga and Xtandi to the same patient, the net effect is that very soon, whether thet get it pre or post chemo, British PC patients will be be getting only Xtandi.
I only sold 1/4 of my position in my IRA. Just rebalancing a bit. GILD is still far and away my largest long position. Besides, I have a rule that on days when the Dow is up more than 150 points, I sell something; on days when it's down more than 150 points, I buy something. Short term, I expect this to linger around here for a while. By October we will be aflutter about the combo and forthcoming earnings.
I read the abbreviated DB blog in Barron's. The data is expected in the fall from a small Phase I test being run in New Zealand. The superior efficacy to Sovaldi was recorded for one type of Hep C in a preclinical trial (mice? petri dishes?) This is a long way from being a serious contender to Sovaldi. Their other hope is in combining one of their drugs with Sovaldii -- but everyone's waiting in line for that slot, including Gilead. Interestingly, one of DB's reasons for upgrading Achillion is that their CMO and team came over from Pharmasset, the company which Gilead bought for their Hep C drug. No concern, IMO.
It's also worth noting that the IBB (of which I think GILD is about 8%) and the other pharma ETF's are well off their highs here. The Dow - meaning the banks, mostly - is holding up much better. The long bonds are dropping here and with the FOMC minutes coming out later this week, there is some justifiable nervousness about interest rates rising. Short term, not a good omen, I think.
You should also note that Vertex just pulled its formerly successful HepC drug off the market, conceding the field to Sovaldi. For those other competitive drugs to pull in ahead of Sovaldi, they will have to demonstrate superiority in clinical trials, which won't be easy. Or quick. In fact, I think most of them are devoting their energy to trials which pair their drugs with Sovaldi.
Looking at AVNR, it seems to me that they have a lot of irons in the fire and are burning through cash. On the other hand, they do have one viable drug ... and a lot of irons in the fire. Mainly, I can't help noticing that in the 13f filed by Baker Brothers Advisors for the second quarter, they had quadrupled their holdings to over 18 million shares -- more than 10% of the float. It was, at that point, about the twelfth largest position in their portfolio.
Also note that at this point, GILD is up about 1.2% for the day -- just about as much as dull old JNJ. There is profit-taking going on here, mostly via those who bought calls Friday selling them.
Note that, in the face of a 165 point rally in the DJI, this has now pulled back to just above its opening price for the day. Which would seem to validate my recommendation that you not buy into today's predictable options-fueled euphoria. If, in fact, you had bought at any time after the market opening, you would be slightly behind on those shares at this point. The options market has finished selling hope and it will now peddle fear in the form of sub-100 puts. I still think you will get a shot at your new shares later this week in the 97.50 area.ou're not buying a lot of stock, so this is just a matter of a few bucks saving. But the principle - sell into strength and buy into weakness - is worth paying attention to.