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Short Sellers Hike Their Bets in Major Biotechs

Chris Lange

The short interest data are out for the most recent settlement date, February 15. Generally speaking, companies within the biotech industry are considered to be a riskier group of stocks, with big potential upside and big potential downside. As we approached Trump’s inauguration, the health care sector in general rallied. Now it’s time to see what the bears have to say about this rally.

As we have said before, FDA rulings can make or break the biotech stocks, and short sellers and mega-bulls often go to war against each other in these companies. After all, if a single failed clinical trial can mean disaster for a stock, then some short sellers can argue for a stock implosion down the road.

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24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the top biotech companies, without focusing on speculative companies. The February 15 short interest data have been compared with the previous report, and short interest increased in all the selected stocks.

Amgen Inc. (AMGN) saw its short interest increase to 8.30 million shares from the previous level of 5.91 million. Shares were last seen trading at $176.01, in a 52-week trading range of $133.64 to $176.85.

Short interest in Biogen Inc. (BIIB) increased to 2.42 million shares from the previous 1.90 million. The stock was recently trading at $290.25, within a 52-week range of $223.02 to $333.65.

Celgene Corp.’s (CELG) short interest for this settlement date increased to 8.12 million shares from the previous 7.39 million. Shares were changing hands at $122.54, in a 52-week range of $94.39 to $127.00.

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Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) saw its short interest increase to 13.63 million shares from 12.79 million in the previous period. Shares were trading at $70.19, in a 52-week trading range of $65.38 to $103.10.

The number of MannKind Corp. (MNKD) shares short increased to 101.61 million. The previous reading was 100.01 million. The stock was last seen at $0.51, in a 52-week range of $0.41 to $2.24. Note that MannKind is one of the most shorted Nasdaq stocks.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (ALXN) short interest increased slightly to 4.57 million, compared to the previous level of 4.45 million. Shares were trading at $131.41, in a 52-week range of $109.12 to $162.00.

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