Healthcare Business

Ebola Stock Short Interest Surprise

Fears of Ebola seem to have petered out at the end of October and into November. Some of the related stocks had been heavily shorted as they were considered by many investors as the next would-be stock bubble from a major news event. Most of these Ebola stocks have come down handily from their highs, and that means that short sellers may have made out like bandits.

iBio Inc. (NYSEMKT: IBIO) saw its short interest increase to 3.66 million shares, with one day to cover. This was the highest reading for the past 52 weeks, up from the previous reading of 453,000. On Tuesday, shares closed at $1.15, compared to $1.03 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $0.24 to $3.48.

Lakeland Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: LAKE) short interest fell to 1.5 million from the previous level of 2.2 million shares, with one day to cover. These were the two highest readings on the year, with all other readings falling in a range of 3,000 to 29,000. Tuesday shares closed at $12.72, which was a fall of 10% from the $14.10 close at the end of October. The 52-week trading range is $4.75 to $29.55. Lakeland also recently had a secondary offering as a capital raise.

Allied Healthcare Products Inc. (NASDAQ: AHPI) saw its short interest increase to 50,000 from its previous reading of 6,000 shares, with one day to cover in mid-October. This is the highest reading for short interest by far in the past 52-weeks. Shares closed Tuesday at $1.68, down 10% from $1.87 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $1.60 to $3.90.

Alpha Pro Tech Ltd. (NYSEMKT: APT) saw its short interest increase to 792,000 shares, from the previous reading of 622,000, with one day to cover. These are the two highest readings for the past 52-weeks. None of the other readings broke 50,000. Shares closed Tuesday at $3.07. The 52-week trading range is $1.76 to $10.73.

Versar Inc. (NYSE: VSR) saw its short interest increase to 158,000, with one day to cover, from the previous level of 15,000. This marks the highest short interest reading in the past 52-weeks. Shares closed Tuesday at $3.05, which fell 6% from $3.25 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $2.69 to $7.84.

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Biotech companies that produced Ebola vaccines or drug treatments were at or near their 52-week highs for short interest on the October 31 settlement date.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: TKMR) saw its short interest decline to 2.8 million, with 1.34 days to cover, from its previous reading and 52-week high of 4.3 million shares. Tekmira’s short interest was initially elevated over the 2 million mark in mid-August, when the Ebola scare was taking off internationally. Shares closed Tuesday at $16.05, down 4% from $16.68 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $7.17 to $31.48.

Chimerix Inc. (NASDAQ: CMRX) saw its short interest fall to 2.8 million shares, with 1.81 days to cover, from the previous reading and 52-week high of 3.5 million. The current reading is the third highest in the past 52-weeks. Shares closed Tuesday’s at $32.79, up 5% from $31.04 at the end of October. The 52-week trading range is $13.29 to $36.75.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) saw its short interest rise to 13.6 million, with 4.2 days to cover, from its previous reading of 12.9 million shares. This is the second highest reading in the past 52-weeks, with the peak back in late February. Shares closed Tuesday at $15.60, down 3.5% from $16.17 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $12.12 to $40.00.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX) saw its short interest barely increase to 10.2 million, with 9.4 days to cover, from the previous level of 10.17 million. This is the highest short interest reading in the past 52-weeks, and the past three readings have been pushing the high higher. Shares closed Tuesday at $10.82, down 7% from $11.72 at the end of October. The 52-week trading range is $5.31 to $14.62.

Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS) saw its short interest increase to 12.3 million shares, with 12.7 days to cover, from the previous reading of 11.9 million. This is the highest reading for short interest in the past 52-weeks. Shares closed Tuesday at $4.20, up 1% from $4.16 on October 31. The 52-week trading range is $3.48 to $8.00.

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