Why Have Short Sellers Backed Off Major Biotechs?

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The short interest data are out for the most recent settlement date, July 31. Generally speaking, companies within the biotech industry are considered to be a riskier group of stocks, with big potential upside and big potential downside.

As we have said before, FDA rulings can make or break the biotech stocks, 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 July 31 short interest data have been compared with the previous report, and short interest in most of the selected biotech stocks decreased.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) saw its short interest fall to 9.98 million shares from the previous level of 10.31 million. Shares were last seen trading at $193.97, in a 52-week trading range of $163.31 to $201.23.

Short interest in Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) increased to 4.00 million shares from the previous 3.91 million. The stock recently traded at $346.90, within a 52-week range of $249.17 to $388.67.

Celgene Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CELG) short interest for this settlement date decreased to 15.39 million shares from the previous level of 15.86 million. Shares were changing hands at $91.92, in a 52-week trading range of $74.13 to $147.17.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) saw its short interest decrease to 14.41 million shares from 15.41 million in the previous period. Shares were trading at $78.04, in a 52-week range of $64.27 to $89.54.

The number of MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) shares short decreased to 30.15 million. The previous reading was 35.63 million. The stock was last seen at $1.24, in a 52-week range of $0.98 to $6.96.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ALXN) short interest rose to 4.46 million shares from the previous 3.93 million. Shares were trading at $120.14, in a 52-week range of $102.10 to $149.34.