Short Sellers Grow More Selective on Major Biotechs

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The short interest data are out for the most recent settlement date, October 31. Generally speaking, companies within the biotech industry are considered a riskier group of stocks, with big potential upside and big potential downside. Now that the U.S. presidential election is over and Hillary Clinton is somewhat out of the picture, major biotech companies can breathe a little easier knowing that the pressure is off, if for just now at least.

As we have said before, FDA rulings can make or break the biotech sector, 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.

24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the top biotech companies, without focusing on speculative companies. The October 31 short interest data have been compared with the previous report, and short interest moves in these selected biotech stocks were relatively flat.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) saw its short interest decrease to 7.38 million shares from the previous level of 7.91 million. Shares closed most recently at $146.42, in a 52-week trading range of $133.64 to $176.85.

Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) had its short interest decrease slightly to 2.36 million shares from the previous 2.55 million. The stock closed Wednesday at $319.86, within a 52-week range of $223.02 to $333.65.

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) short interest for this settlement date increased barely to 9.26 million shares from the previous 8.99 million. Shares closed most recently at $120.07, in a 52-week range of $93.05 to $127.00.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) saw its short interest increase to 15.68 million shares from 14.84 million in the previous period. Shares closed Wednesday at $78.47, in a 52-week trading range of $71.39 to $109.23.

MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) saw the number of its shares short decrease slightly to 97.07 million. The previous reading was 97.76 million. The stock closed most recently at $0.47, in a 52-week range of $0.41 to $3.02. Note that MannKind is one of the most shorted Nasdaq stocks.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ALXN) short interest decreased to 4.98 million, compared to the previous level of 5.37 million. Shares closed most recently at $127.16, in a 52-week range of $110.56 to $193.45.