So basically the day ended about the same as yesterday, and a tad higher than the open. Clearly not as bad as the inverted hammer that was at risk of a print ... but still not a lot of conviction either way. Friday's session (end of week & month) should be quite technically instructive. Watching for a retest of either $52 level (putative R1) and $51.20 (putative S1).
So the good news is yesterday was a putative confirmation of the Aug 26th buy-if. And Aug 26th itself suggested a strong buy.
But here's the rub. Aug 26th was not quite the ideal outside reversal day (opened slightly higher than the prior close). And the volume on this day (considered the lie detector for TA) wasn't all that impressive, and on the confirmation day was even worse. Such might seem ticky tacky, but to the TA based algos, these are key differences.
So then let's forward to today. We had a nice AM run (but again on low volume) but then a reversal with no bounce or follow through. In fact, if we closed here, the day would paint a bearish inverted hammer. And if such is indeed the daily print, with a close tomorrow below today's close, it suggest a quick retest of the tested (& broken) $50 support.
Yes, I know the $LGND permabulls among us will hate this read. But I'm just reporting what I'm seeing. As anyone following this board knows, we've long had major differences with LGND management, yet remain long term bullish, given the portfolio and the obvious strategic options we see and continue to encourage management to consider.
But in the short term? Concerns that the low vacation volume and recent convertible debt offering might have created an opening for some to massage the TAs - either unintentionally from those with end of month position adjustments, or intentionally by those seeking to push their dim witted short agenda.
For full disclosure, we are sitting on our highly profitable core & T1, but have yet to refill our T2 & T3. We had picked up a T2 in stock (ave this run ~51) but that tranche was profitable stopped out to protect a quick 10% gain after OPEX. We also picked up a T3 in options (Aug50 calls) which were also very profitable, and which we exercised, but whose also got profitably stopped out after OPEX. So yes, we'd love and expect $LGND to continue higher, but are also ready to reload. Just not quite yet.
What to you want? I'm being quiet as I'm looking to buy more options. ;-)
And $LGND to buy ~700k shares (~$40 mil) with close of convert? She's going higher. Much higher.
Tonight's announced $225 mil convertable debt (tied to a new $200 mil share repurchase plan) is to be offered by BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities. As such, one should expect that at least one, and likely both, will start to cover Ligand soon. $LGND's days of lack of tier 1 coverage are now drawing to a close.
NASDAQ report issued today a 4pm eastern show short interest on $LGND is below 3 mil shares short as of July 31, '14 falls to lowest level in 8 month. Such provides further support for our supposition that the short covering has already started, and that some of these position is now being maintained in proxy via options. In particular, we note large OTM call options have been written for the $60 & $65 stikes in the options that close this week, as well as in the $55 & $65 stikes that close in Sept.
Well, I guess it would be true if the stock screamed up, his cost to close his short would likewise rise, yes? So even if he didn't add any more shares short, the value of his short position would have increased. He does excel at phrasing words....
And he does seem to be an active trader. So even if he did add shares short on Monday, I would not be surprised to learn that he increased his position only right before he issued his latest release, and started to take profits on that same tranche today when the technicals started to again chirp buy.
Any way, I'm sort of amazed by all the attention paid to him. Greg is the sole sponsor of his fund, and it still has a small AUM. Furthermore, he reports he's only be at this since 2009 and has no experience or education in the trade. Sure, he might have a hot hand on his 5 for so public picks, but the details of his report on Ligand have been laughable.
Yet another case in point, Lemelson's slam on Hovione, Ligand's CMO for Captisol. I know Hovione well. (I even know how to spell their name - No, Lemelson, it is not "Havione" as you repeat in your original short case multiple times.) For I was the person that first vetted the business aspects of this relationship back in 2004 - I did extensive diligence on their private books - and we loved what we found even back then. Since then, Ligand has had over a decade of working with CEO Guy Villax and his team, and their capabilities have greatly expanded since. Guy is now a globally recognized expert in the CMO industry and gave a talk at BIO2014 on the future of the CMO industry along with a senior rep from the FDA.
Any close this week above $54.04 and bullish momentum traders will step on the gas while the wise technical shorts will take profits. This mark has already been tested once today, and stochastic suggest another run soon.
But even if we don't get this mark today, should we close here or anything north of $53.39, $LGND will paint an uberbullish outside reversal day. As the minutes tick by and as long as the market stays in the green, the probability of this new buy signal is high and rising. Meanwhile, intraday we have the makings of a cute little bull flag to gather energy to challenge the Aug 4th close level.
$CELG might gain with some more Rev sales, but the ASPIRE results are a slap in the face to their thesis of Kyprolis having increased CV risk. And as such, Pomalyst (along with Velcade) will see increased competition.
However, $LGND (which has been heavily shorted based on ASPIRE CV fears etc) is now seeing a major pop from short covering. Separately. the company also raised guidance today after beating on 2Q and given greater than expected 2Q sales of Kyprolis as well as Promacta, $LGND is sitting pretty through the Fall.
Overall, SI was actually down slightly in the last report, but with lower volume, DTC expanded over 10 days. In his last update, he mentioned he was still short. In his prior update, he had actually increased short holding.
So events are driving more healing with $LGND's charts. Today's move into and beyond $53 tripped a new buy signal... this time on the ol' school P&F chart, classically drawn. As the putative price target for this technical buy is determined by the strength of the reaction, such is already pointing to a prelim bullish objective of $70... well above both the MA(200)d & MA(50)d.
Given other technicals and the low Aug OI for the 55 strike Put & Call, expect little resistance till the $60 range in the near term.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
While a technical buy if was confirmed, general market conditions led to a brief period where such a trade was a loser. But in doing so, triggered an even more robust buy -if (double bottom buy), which will be confirmed with a close today or Tuesday over $52. With the strong ASPIRE news and $LGND guidance raise, we expect it to be a good week for $LGND.
Actually, the close I really want is anything north of $52 prior to the 8/4 cc. Such would set us up nice for a fast technical rip back to the 60's to test the short term moving averages.
With both $GSK & $AMGN reporting, we now have strong confidence that $LGND's 3Q will be a beat and that the 4/4 cc will be quite positive. So while we continue to believe that $LGND needs to do more to reorg to help the market have better clarity on how to value the business, in the near term stock price action will be all about healing the damaged chart.
Again, there has been zero negative news on Ligand since it was in the 80's, save it's Board's decision not to support our shareholder proposal to advance a true R&D spinoff. And we are aware of several large funds that supported our proposal, but given the Board's reaction, not only stopped building positions but took profits.
So now, technically, $LGND is in the hurt locker. Most notable is a looming death cross (MA50d crosses the MA200d) with resistance at the $52 level. But we do have near term green shoots that technicals are improving.
First, the last two days printed a BULLISH ONE WHITE SOLDIER, but such still requires confirmation before we will see major technical buying or short covering. One possible confirmation will be a close above $51.09 today or on Thursday.
Second, the MACD has already started to flatten well below the zero line, and looks like a bullish crossover (or bear bounce, but either way, going higher in the near term) in the next few sessions.
Third, the primary MA(200)d is still rising and MA(150)d is flat.
Fourth, the RSI is coming out of an excessively oversold period.
Finally, the Elliot Wavers will see since the double top (who's downside target has long since been achieved) what is a putative completion of a cycle with the sub $48 so called "C wave". The longer this week's low holds, the more the pattern will start to look like the start of a new bullish cycle. Such may take the place of a bullish retrace to retest the MA(50)d, now around $61.66, and then printing a bullish flag pattern.
Mentioned in passing; "Meanwhile we continue to actively prosecute .... our beta secretase program in patients suffering from or at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, ..."
My guess is the next announcement on MK-8931 likely to be related to site recruitment objectives or rate of enrollment (but the latter not exected for a few months yet).
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Yes, Promacta is growing faster than Nplate and at this rate may catch them by Q4 (assuming no unilateral price increases).
Promacta just reported 2Q at 31% growth over prior yr qtr, with a 17% Q2/Q1 in the US.
Nplate? 2Q at 23% growth over prior qtr, with an ugly 0% Q2/Q1 growth in the US.
As nucs provide potential for all oral Tx, injectable Nplate is even more disfavored for HVC vs oral Promacta. So even with 0% growth, the combination of Nplate & Promacta results provide further support for those that believe anti-thrombo Rx will still have a place. Even with nucs in HCV.
I like Irina's work. And as a fellow NYU MBA grad, I've wanted to like her work on Ligand too. Sadly, her work here has been very inconsistent, and boarders on spiteful after Cantor Fitzgerald was passed over to run $LGND's old ATM facility.
A) Promacta: her quarterly sales forecasts have been consistently lagged consensus and what $GSK has actually produced.
B) Debt: When Ligand snubbed CF, she started saying she had a concern $LGND was using debt to do M&A. Who knows where she got this. The company has mostly used combination of equity and CVRs to get deals done; not debt. In fact $LGND will be debt free by the end of the month. But to be clear, I actually FAVOR $LGND's use reasonable debt at low costs vs dilutive equity offerings to acquire accretive revenue streams.
C) Captisol: She was concerned the 4Q13 Captisol sales jump was just front loading, rather than a true increase in sales. Q1 & Q2 results show her fears there were unfounded.
D) She has stated, "owning LGND which depends on royalty streams from a diverse product basket (some highly valuable, others less so), is not the same as owning shares in a biotech company with a unique and differentiated asset..." AND I AGREE. But she fails to understand the value of this portfolio effect. A diverse basket of royalty streams should have MUCH LESS RISK (and thus be MORE valuable) often recognized by applying a lower WACC discount. But Irina's work uses the SAME WACC for Ligand as she uses for all other biotechs. That makes zero sense. A pre earnings biotech with a key lead asset has HUGE risks; both technical success risks and financing risks.
E) BACE1: Previously she had stated that she had yet to include it in valuation given she had low expectations it would meet Ph2. But claimed that if it did go into Ph3, it would have a major impact. Yet when the data proved she was wrong and $MRK did go into Ph3, she merely added $1/sh w/o running the numbers. Weak effort.