Editor's Note:

In addition to tonight's new candidate(s), consider these stocks as possible trading ideas and watch list candidates. Some of these stocks may need to see a break past key support or resistance:

Bearish ideas: FDS, MMM, COO, MLM, ECL, ACN, GILD, GPC, TPX, DVA, DDS, GS, FFIV, PII

Bullish ideas: ALKS, AMGN, MNST, TAP, DGX,




NEW DIRECTIONAL CALL PLAYS

Ionis Pharmaceuticals - IONS - close: 61.93 change: +0.61

Stop Loss: 59.65
Target(s): To Be Determined
Current Option Gain/Loss: Unopened
Average Daily Volume = 1.6 million
Entry on January -- at $---.--
Listed on January 02, 2016
Time Frame: Exit PRIOR to February option expiration
New Positions: Yes, see below

Company Description

Trade Description:
Biotech stocks had a volatile year, especially after the group peaked in July 2015. The IBB managed to deliver a +11% gain for the year thanks to strength among some of its bigger cap names. IONS closed virtually flat for the year (down -19 cents for all of 2015). The stock has been showing relative strength recently and looks poised to sprint past its peers.

IONS is in the healthcare sector. They are part of the drug and biotech industry. The company was previously known as ISIS pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately the rise of the radical Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS has tarnished the name. A couple of weeks ago ISIS changed its name to Ionis. Here's a bit from the company press release:

"Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today (December 18th) announced that the company has changed its name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Ionis (pronounced "eye-OH-nis") Pharmaceuticals is an original name that the Company has chosen to represent its innovative culture and heritage as both the pioneer and leader in the RNA-targeted therapeutic space for the past 26 years."

Now here is the company's description: "Ionis is the leading company in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development focused on developing drugs for patients who have the highest unmet medical needs, such as those patients with severe and rare diseases. Using its proprietary antisense technology, Ionis has created a large pipeline of first-in-class or best-in-class drugs, with over a dozen drugs in mid- to late-stage development. Drugs currently in Phase 3 development include volanesorsen, a drug Ionis is developing and plans to commercialize through its wholly owned subsidiary, Akcea Therapeutics, to treat patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome and familial partial lipodystrophy; IONIS-TTRRx, a drug Ionis is developing with GSK to treat patients with all forms of TTR amyloidosis; and nusinersen, a drug Ionis is developing with Biogen to treat infants and children with spinal muscular atrophy. Ionis' patents provide strong and extensive protection for its drugs and technology."

Regular readers know that we feel biotech stocks are aggressive, higher-risk trades. A lot of biotech companies are relatively small and only have one or two treatments in development, which make them binary trades. You can win big or lose big depending on the approval process of their treatment. There is a lot of headline risk. There is still headline risk with IONS but the company's relatively deep pipeline of drugs makes IONS a stronger play. You can view IONS' pipeline here.

Shares of IONS surged through several layers of resistance in early November on a better than expected Q3 earnings report. Since that big rally the stock has been consolidating lower. That changed in mid December when traders bought the dip near its 100-dma. Investors have been buying the dips every since. IONS displayed relative strength on Thursday with a +0.99% gain. The point & figure chart is bullish and forecasting at $74.00 target.

We would like to see some follow through higher. Tonight we are suggesting a trigger to buy calls at $63.20. Plan on exiting prior to February option expiration.

Trigger @ 63.20

- Suggested Positions -

Buy the FEB $65 CALL (IONS160219C65) current ask $3.50
option price is a current quote and not a suggested entry price.

Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps open more than $1.00 past our suggested entry point.

Option Format: symbol-year-month-day-call-strike

Daily Chart:

Weekly Chart: