Healthcare Business

Short Sellers Look Scared of Big Biotech

Chris Lange

The short interest data are out for the January 30 settlement date. Biotech companies are considered a riskier group of stocks, with big upside and big downside. FDA rulings can make or break them. A single failed clinical trial can mean disaster for a stock. 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the top biotech companies, without focusing on speculative companies.

The January 30 short interest data have been compared with the January 15 figures, and for most of the selected stocks, short interest is down.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) saw its short interest decrease to 7.0 million shares, with 2.0 days to cover. The previous short interest reading was 7.7 million with 2.1 days to cover. The short interest for Amgen has taken a dip for these past four settlement dates, recording the lowest levels on the year, with the current level being the 52-week low. Shares closed Tuesday at $152.57, in a 52-week trading range of $108.20 to $173.14.

Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) saw its short interest fall to 3.1 million, with 1.7 days to cover, from the previous level of 3.3 million shares, with 1.6 days to cover. The company is coming off its lowest short interest readings in November and seemingly returning to its recent historical levels. Shares closed Tuesday at $395.13, within a 52-week trading range of $272.02 to $407.94.

ALSO READ: The 5 Nasdaq Stocks With the Most Shares Short

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) saw a short interest decrease for this settlement date, down to 11.0 million shares, with 2.3 days to cover. The level for the previous settlement date was 12.7 million, with 2.1 days to cover. Since March, Celgene has recorded its two lowest relative readings in the past four settlement dates. This potentially signals some optimism from investors. Shares of Celgene closed Tuesday at $120.16, in a 52-week trading range of $66.85 to $124.60.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) saw its short interest decrease to 53.0 million, with 4.3 days to cover, from 55.3 million, with 3.1 days to cover. Investors seem to have backed off shorting this stock from September, when shares were poised to hit 52-week highs. Prior to September, short interest was as high as 98 million. Shares closed Tuesday at $98.32, in a 52-week trading range of $63.50 to $116.83.

Mannkind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) saw its short interest rise to 80.7 million shares, with 16.6 days to cover. The previous reading was 76.9 million, with 17.2 days to cover. Short interest for Mannkind is slowly approaching its 52-week highs that followed the market sell-off in October. Shares closed Tuesday at $7.58. The 52-week trading range is $3.80 to $11.48.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) short interest dropped to 2.9 million shares, with 1.9 days to cover, down from the previous level of 3.2 million, with 2.2 days to cover. The past six readings since mid-November have been the lowest for the past 52-weeks. Shares closed Tuesday at $176.39, in a 52-week trading range of $136.37 to $203.30.

ALSO READ: Short Interest in Solar and Alt Energy Stocks Drops as Crude Prices Rise