Healthcare Business

Why MannKind Could Be an Endless Tug-of-War Stock

MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) is still one of the biggest battleground stocks out there in the realm of biotech and emerging pharma. After getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the inhalable insulin Afrezza, the real push and launch has gotten off to a slow start with very slow use adoption. Then shares of MannKind tanked, only to almost double from their 52-week low in a period of just the past month.

24/7 Wall St. has seen both sides of the coin on MannKind, and the most obvious issue here is that it is not just going to be a battleground stock ahead. It likely will be a tug-of-war stock, each day and each week ahead, until a more clear direction and long-term path is known.

The first tug-of-war is of course going to be how the public reacts to the inhalable insulin named Afrezza. Most doctors do not know enough about Afrezza to prescribe it. Of the doctors that do know Afrezza is approved, many remain more concerned than optimistic. The same appears to be true for many patients. That will be a serious tug-of-war.

Jefferies has remained very positive in its research report on MannKind. Goldman Sachs was very negative, but MannKind is set to present at the Goldman Sachs health care conference this week. You could have Jefferies covering this one endlessly with bullish views, and you could have Goldman Sachs covering it negatively. Then there are other analysts as well.

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Reports have included issues such as a coming capital raise from MannKind. While a capital raise helps the company’s cash and long-term viability, it either adds on debt or it ultimately dilutes shareholders. That means that long-term holders will fight traders in the near term over which direction the stock will go. Tug-of-war!

The short interest from the end of May is not yet out, but will be in hours. We just showed how the short sellers were likely being shaken out, but the reality is that short sellers often stay short or stay negatively biased for more than just weeks. That means the short sellers likely will remain active.

Momentum traders are likely to remain active here. That also means big buying, followed by big selling — and not just in that order. Tug-of-war!

Options traders may create another tug-of-war. The June 12, 2015, weekly expiration options had over 10,000 call contracts and over 5,000 put contracts in the open interest. Each 10,000 contracts, with each contract consisting of the right to buy or sell 100 shares, accounts for a million shares on a fully leveraged basis. The June 19 puts and calls are even more active — far more active, due to those being the monthly expiration that would have been bought weeks and months ahead.

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Anyhow, there are of course more issues to consider with Afrezza and MannKind. Either way, the tug-of-war status looks as though it will remain in place for some time.

MannKind shares were down 5.3% to $6.85 Tuesday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $7.46 and a 52-week trading range of $3.46 to $11.48. The company has a market cap of $2.8 billion.

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