8 Biotech Stocks Seeing Bearish Options Sentiment

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 |  Includes: ACOR, CYTX, IDIX, MDVN, OPTR, VICL, VRTX, XNPT
by: Kapitall

A helpful gauge of the market’s sentiment on a stock is the put/call ratio. When a stock’s put/call ratio rises, it indicates that options traders are increasingly bearish on a company’s outlook.

We ran a screen on stocks in the biotech industry for those with a bearish change in sentiment from options traders, with a significant increase in put/call over the last ten trading days.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬


We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.



Do you agree with options traders on these names? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by increase in put/call.

1. Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX): Engages in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of human viral and other infectious diseases in the United States and Europe. Market cap of $449.02M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.31 to 1.69 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 445.16%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.44% (equivalent to 7.15 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.41% over the last week.

2. Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CYTX):
Engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of medical products and devices to enable the practice of regenerative medicine. Market cap of $146.34M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.19 to 0.78 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 310.53%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.77% (equivalent to 18.06 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.8% over the last week.

3. Vical Inc. (NASDAQ:VICL):
Engages in the research and development of biopharmaceutical products based on its deoxyribonucleic acid (Private:DNA) delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Market cap of $180.32M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.23 to 0.64 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 178.26%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.69% (equivalent to 6.65 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 26.18%.

4. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOR): Involves in the identification, development, and commercialization of therapies for multiple sclerosis (NYSE:MS), spinal cord injury, and other nervous system disorders. Market cap of $843.17M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.73 to 1.63 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 123.29%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.07% (equivalent to 8.31 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.51% over the last week. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 13.75%.

5. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX):
Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drugs for the treatment of serious diseases worldwide. Market cap of $9.25B. Put/Call ratio changed from 1.13 to 1.59 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 40.71%. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 10.78% below its SMA20, 8.51% below its SMA50, and 8.87% below its SMA200. The stock has gained 25.86% over the last year.

6. Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPTR):
Focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing hospital specialty products worldwide. Market cap of $657.99M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.35 to 0.44 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 25.71%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.9% (equivalent to 6.94 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 18.26%.

7. Medivation, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDVN):
Focuses on the development of small molecule drugs for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington disease. Market cap of $601.15M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.47 to 0.57 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 21.28%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.2% (equivalent to 5.87 days of average volume). The stock has gained 40.8% over the last year.

8. Xenoport, Inc. (NASDAQ:XNPT):
Focuses on developing and commercializing internally discovered product candidates that utilize the body's natural nutrient transport mechanisms to enhance the therapeutic benefits of drugs. Market cap of $195.27M. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.92 to 1.10 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of 19.57%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.47% (equivalent to 10.57 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.61% over the last week.

*Options data sourced from Schaeffer’s, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.