Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 6/7/2016

Table of Contents

  1. Market Wrap
  2. New Plays
  3. In Play Updates and Reviews

Market Wrap

Summer Doldrums Have Begun

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

The indexes battled resistance all day in a low volume market and gave up their gains at the close.

Market Statistics

There were no headlines of any importance and the Dow ran into strong resistance right at the open that held all day. There was simply not enough conviction or volume on the buy side to break through that 18,000 level. Without headlines or earnings, it was a lackluster day and probably the first of many over the next three months.

The economic news was less than exciting. The Core Logic Home Price Index rose +6.2% over April 2015. This was down from 6.7% for March. The index has increased for five consecutive months. Single-family prices rose +1.8% and home prices reached new highs in 17 states. Only one state declined and that was Connecticut. This was a lagging report for April and it was ignored.

Semiconductor billings for April declined -1.0% after a minor +0.3% gain in March. Billings have declined in five of the last six months. This was also a lagging report and was ignored.

Productivity for Q1 declined -0.6% after a -1.7% decline in Q4. This was a revision from a previously reported -1.0% decline in the first release. Nonfarm output per hour fell -0.6%. Hours worked increased +1.5% and hourly compensation rose +3.9%. On a trailing 12-month basis, productivity is up only +0.7%. Annual productivity growth has averaged only 1% since the recession. Without rising productivity growth, the economy will remain sluggish and the GDP growth will soften.

The economic calendar for tomorrow is also lacking any material reports. The Job Openings report is for April and we have already had two employment reports since that period. It will be ignored. The oil inventory numbers could cause a slight movement in the market with oil prices holding over $50. A big decline in inventories could lift prices and an unexpected build in inventories could push prices lower and drag the market with it.

In stock news, Tesla (TSLA) shares saw a bounce after billionaire Ron Baron of Baron Capital said Tesla was a stock you could buy and hold for 20 years because it was going to be huge. He believes Tesla could be one of the largest companies in the U.S. or even the world. He is talking his book since he has amassed a $300 million stake or roughly 1% of the outstanding shares. He has more than a dozen funds that hold shares in Tesla. One of his funds has a 15% stake and another has an 11.6% stake. He expects to make $6 to $7 billion on his investment over the next 10-15 years. He is expecting Tesla to increase sales from $4 billion in 2015 to $8 billion in 2016 and $20 billion in 2017. He said Tesla has no real competition and they are moving so fast that they will stay ahead of the pack. He expects battery sales to equal auto sales in revenue once the gigafactory is in full operation. Shares spiked 5% on his endorsement.

Biogen (BIIB) shares fell sharply after the company lost a big gamble on a MS drug. The company thought it had a winner but the drug trials proved them wrong. Opicinuamb was a drug that was supposed to improve symptoms of MS by improving cognitive function and disability over a 72-week trial by restoring myelination around the nerves. The "anti-LINGO" drug failed on both endpoints of the study. Some analysts had expected a big payday for Biogen if the drug had worked. Biogen is not giving up on the concept and will continue with their research and plans new Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies in the years ahead. Shares fell -13% or -$37.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) suffered a similar fate after a 26-week drug trial for generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) failed to show any statistical significance compared to the placebo. There were some secondary endpoints that were successful so the trials will continue with an altered focus.

Sarepta (SRPT), a stock that is too volatile to trade, spiked 22% after the FDA requested more data on a MS drug they were expected to reject. The FDA advisory panel recommended rejecting the drug but the full FDA has the power to overrule the recommendations. The drug is for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Hundreds of patients and their families have been showing up at hearings and pleading with the FDA to approve the drug. This has led to wide swings in the stock. Analysts believe the stock is worth single digits if the drug is rejected and it could be worth $50-$60 a share if the drug is approved. With shares in the $20 range, you either win big or lose big. There is no middle ground.

The FDA was expected to rule this week. When they asked for more data that was a clue they were trying to find some reason to approve it over the recommendation of the panel. This company is a real long shot but you have to be willing to lose 50% of your money if the decision is negative.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) finally reported earnings this morning and while the miss was not large, the guidance was terrible. They reported adjusted earnings of $1.27 that missed estimates for $1.37. Revenue rose 9.3% to $2.37 billion but missed estimates slightly at $2.38 billion. They guided for full year earnings of $6.60-$7.00 compared to the prior forecast for $8.50-$9.50. Revenue guidance fell from $11.0-$11.2 billion to $9.9-$10.1 billion.

The new CEO, Joe Papa said, "Negative external attention continues to adversely impact the business and our reputation with patients, physicians and all of you, our shareholders, as well as our distracted organization." He said the results reflected the "significant disruption" over the past nine months. It will take six months to stabilize the company, including staff recruitment, improving relationships with doctors and drug payers, selling assets and repaying debt. They owe $31 billion with $15 billion due by 2020. Year to date they have repaid $730 million and expect total repayment in 2016 of $1.7 billion. Shares fell to a new low at $24.

I wrote on Monday it would be interesting to see if they packed all the expenses and losses into this quarter in order to clear the books and allow the recovered company to show positive gains in future quarters. The alternative was to front load gains to show a profit in this quarter and put investors at ease. Apparently, they took the first option. Is this a buying opportunity?

Zillow Group (Z) was upgraded by Barclay's after they settled a suit with Move.com for $130 million instead of the $500 million analysts expected. The suit had been ongoing for the last two years and kept a cloud over Zillow's future. Move.com was seeking $1.8 billion in damages. Move.com alleged that Zillow hired two of its executives, who provided Zillow with trade secrets that helped Zillow acquire Trulia in 2014 for $2.5 billion. Shares spiked 6%.

F5 Networks (FFIV) rallied 13% on news it had hired Goldman Sachs (GS) to help evaluate acquisition offers. The company did not say it had any offers but the wording of the story seemed to indicate they had received multiple expressions of interest. No parties were identified. F5 is a current position in the LEAPS Newsletter. Last week we had a big win with the Hewlett Packard/Computer Sciences news that spiked CSC by $15. I would be really happy if this trend continues.

The weekly API inventory report released after the bell showed a decline of -3.56 million barrels of oil and a gain of +760,000 barrels of gasoline and +270,000 barrels of distillates. The expectations for Wednesday's EIA inventories are for a decline of 3.138 million barrels of oil. The EIA estimate also calls for a decline in gasoline of -1.305 million barrels and a -504,000 barrel decline in distillates. If the EIA numbers are correct, we could see another push higher in WTI prices because of the decline in refined products.

Crude prices rallied into the close to an 11-month high at $50.47.


The Nasdaq closed slightly negative because the biotech sector finally cratered with a -1.7% decline. Now that the ASCO conference is over the biotech stocks should seek their natural level. Stocks had rallied in advance of the conference on expectations for some good news that could create some winners. Kite Pharma (KITE) was one of those winners with a large spike on Monday but shares fell -2.5% today. This is the story of ASCO. Shares rise on expectations and then on the actual news for those with good presentations. Afterwards the sector declines. This meeting is called the Super Bowl for drug stocks. We all know how interest in football fades about an hour after the Super Bowl ends. Unless you are the winning team, there is no continued celebration. The drug Super Bowl is over and the celebration is fading.

The S&P continued to post a higher close after spiking intraday to an eleven month high. However, it gave back -7 points to close up only +2. The selling was not as pronounced on the S&P as the Dow but it does exist. The index punched through the 2,116 level to touch 2,119 but the hang time was brief. The index fell back to close at 2,112 and just below that 2,116 level. It is either poised for a breakout or a resistance failure. Given the expected low volume, the consensus outlook is for a decline. The summer doldrums have started and there are no headlines on the calendar until the FOMC meeting next week and then the Brexit vote the week after. There is always the possibility of a continued meltup but the odds are against it. Of course, that is normally when rallies occur, when nobody expects them.

The daily Dow chart does not paint the true picture. The 5 min chart is the one that shows the solid intraday top and what the bulls will have to overcome this week if they want to move the market higher. The Dow has to break through that wall at 18,000 and then the resistance band from 18,110-18,165 in order to make a new high. That is going to be hard to do in a low volume market with no headlines to power the breakout.

Support remains 17,700 and I would feel better about our breakout chances if we saw a pullback to that level and then another attempt at overhead resistance.

Note the number of biotech stocks in the point losers list below. This should only increase in the days ahead. Without the biotech sector providing support the Nasdaq failed at the April resistance high of 4,968 and while it has only pulled back a hand full of points that has been resistance for the last several days. When the indexes only pull back a small number of points from strong resistance that is a signal the buyers are still trying to mount a charge. The S&P did this for the last 7 days with intraday pushes higher but then a close just under resistance. The stage was set for the next day but the sellers were knocking the S&P back every morning. Eventually the buyers won the battle and the index has risen for the last two days to another resistance point.

If the Nasdaq gets through 4,968 there is round number resistance at 5,000 and then a big gap before the old high resistance begins at 5,160. One day will not make a rally. With the low volume, it could take a couple weeks to push through to the highs. I am not sure the bulls have enough conviction to sustain that kind of assault.

The Russell 2000 gained only 3 points but it was a new 6-month high. The Russell is approaching major resistance at 1,200 and without the support of the biotech sector, it could be a tough uphill fight. The Russell is clearly overextended and needs to rest before attacking that 1,200 level.

Historically, June is flat to slightly bullish over the first two weeks. It tends to peak in option expiration week and then decline into month end. Historical trends are just that, they are averaged over a long period. Any single June can and sometimes does exactly the opposite of what is expected.

We need to trade the trend until it ends. The buyers have the momentum, although very weak. Remember, when the bulls have a new high target in sight they can climb almost any wall of worry to make it happen. Once that high is hit, it becomes a sell the news event as traders take profits and wait to see if the market direction changes. It appears the bulls are focused but the ranks are slim and therefore volume is low. As evidenced by the intraday chart on the Dow the bears are also focused on selling at resistance.

Today had the appearance of another short squeeze at the open. I saw dozens of charts on individual stocks that spiked straight up at the open and then went sideways to down the rest of the day. As long as strong short interest is high, these short squeezes can continue to chip away at resistance.

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

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New Plays

Looking for Opportunity

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown
Editor's Note

With the markets struggling to move towards new highs there are many candidate choices. Unfortunately, none of them are worthwhile. I spent four hours trying to find a play candidate today that had a chance of success in the current market. Most stocks had a chart that looks a lot like the S&P chart. They have risen to resistance and the gains are slowing. Others have broken out to new highs and are surging. Those are not the candidates we want to play when the market is at a possible turning point. Stocks that have not rallied over the last two weeks are obvious rejects. If they cannot move higher in a bullish market we do not want them if the market is about to roll over.

I do not know what it is about Tuesday's lately. With all the short squeezes powering us higher and the intraday declines last week, it has been a real challenge to find a play on a Turnaround Tuesday. Today did not turnaround but the failure at resistance could mean we will see that on Wednesday.

I have said in the past we should not have a play every day. Just because we have a daily newsletter does not mean every day is a buying opportunity. I think some of our bad plays come from forcing a play just to have one in every newsletter. I am going to try and avoid that trap. I would rather make fewer recommendations and have better positions than a surplus of recommendations where some do not work out.


No New Bullish Plays


No New Bearish Plays

In Play Updates and Reviews

Solid Top

by Jim Brown

Click here to email Jim Brown

Editors Note:

The Dow spent time at this level back in April and again in May and both times it headed lower. The Dow traded at 18,003 intraday but the resistance was solid. The Dow gapped up to 18,000 at the open and tried repeatedly to push through but every attempt found sellers ready and waiting.

This should be a clue on what to expect tomorrow. However, the index declined only -65 points from the high so there was no conviction on the seller side to chase prices lower.

The close at 17,942 was over resistance at 17,925 and the S&P close at 2,112 was over resistance at 2,110. The buyers are chipping away at resistance but it could take some time for them to succeed in a breakout.

Current Portfolio

Current Position Changes

UIS - Unisys

The long position was entered at the open with a trade at $8.47.

OMED - OncoMed Pharma

The long position was closed at the open with a trade at $13.37.

CLVS - Clovis Oncology

The long position was stopped with a trade at $16.45.

NLNK - Newlink Genetics

The short position remains unopened until a trade at $11.15.

SWIR - Sierra Wireless

The long position remains unopened until a trade at $20.30.

Profit Targets

Check the graphic above for any profit stops in green. We need to always be prepared for a profit exit at resistance.

Stop Loss Updates

Check the graphic above for any new stop losses in bright yellow. We need to always be prepared for an unexpected decline.

BULLISH Play Updates

CLVS - Clovis Oncology -
Company Profile


No specific news. Shares dipped with the biotech sector and stopped us out just before the close at $16.45.

Original Trade Description: May 29th.

Clovis Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on acquiring, developing and commercializing anti cancer agents worldwide. It is developing three product candidates, which include Rociletinib, an oral epidermal growth factor receptor and mutant-selective covalent inhibitor that is under review with the U.S. and E.U. regulatory authorities for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer; Rucaparib, an oral inhibitor of poly polymerase, which is in advanced clinical development for the treatment of ovarian cancer; and Lucitanib, an oral inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase that is in Phase II development for the treatment of breast cancers.

Clovis announced it would make three presentations at ASCO and one discusses the potential for using Rucaparib for treatment of a different cancer other than the drugs original intent. That presentation is on pancreatic cancer and the other two are on ovarian cancer.

These are promising drugs and any positive data that Clovis releases could give the stock a significant boost.

In their recent earnings, they reported a loss of $1.98 compared to estimates for -$2.15. Because it is an experimental drug company, the earnings are not that material. Shares did decline about $1.50 after the report but have risen $4.50 in the last two weeks.

Earnings August 4th.

Resistance is $20.30 and shares closed at $16.70 on Friday. I would gladly take a $2 gain out of the middle over the next week and they tighten the stop loss as the multi-day conference begins next Friday.

Position 5/31/16:

Closed 6/7/16: Long CLVS shares @ $16.80, exit $16.45, -.35 loss.

HPE - Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares spiked to a new historic high.

Original Trade Description: June 2nd.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise was spun off from Hewlett Packard (HPQ) to be the high growth segment of the company. The remaining HPQ was the slower growing PC and printer company.

HPE reported adjusted Q1 earnings of 42 cents and in line with estimates. Revenue of $12.711 billion would have been up +4% on a constant currency basis. Analysts were expecting $12.419 billion.

For the current quarter, HPE guided to earnings of $1.10 to $1.14. For the full year, they expect $1.85-$1.95 and that was more than analysts expected at $1.89. They increased free cash flow +101% to $1.1 billion for the quarter.

The good news came from their plans for the cash flow. HPE expects to generate $2.0-$2.2 billion in free cash flow in 2016. They are receiving $2 billion from the Tsinghua transaction which closed in early May and the money will be used for share repurchases. In 2016, HPE is increasing its commitment to return 100% of the free cash flow to investors in dividends and buybacks.

This means over the next couple of months we should see significant share activity as funds position themselves to be the beneficiaries of all this buyback/dividend activity that could exceed $4 billion in 2016. $2.5 billion of that is in an "accelerated" buyback program. The board authorized another $3 billion in buybacks to bring the current authorization to $4.8 billion.

They also announced a tax-free spinoff of their services division to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is expected to close in March 2017. This will produce another $8.5 billion in value to HPE shareholders in the form of $4.5 billion in equity in the combined company and $1.5 billion in a cash dividend and the removal of $2.5 billion in debt from HPE.

Earnings Aug 23rd.

HPE shares have shaken off their May weakness and closed today at a historic high. I am recommending we buy this stock in anticipation of additional fund investors moving in ahead of future dividends, buybacks and the spinoff.

Position 6/3/16:

Long HPE shares @ $18.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.


Long August $20 call @ 40 cents. No stop loss.

OMED - OncoMed Pharmaceuticals - Company Profile


We exited a couple days too late but we still made a fractional gain. The post ASCO dip was huge at -8%.

Original Trade Description: May 21st.

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel anti-cancer stem cell and immuno-oncology therapeutics. OncoMed has seven anti-cancer therapeutic candidates in clinical development, where each target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch, Wnt and R-spondin LGR. OncoMed is advancing its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and an undisclosed immuno-oncology candidate (IO#2) toward clinical trials in the 2016-2017 timeframe. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Celgene Corporation, Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

OncoMed is making six presentations at ASCO related to six oncology drug candidates, including robust preclinical anti-tumor activity data for its wholly owned GITRL-Fc candidate and from clinical trials of vantictumab, ipafricept, demcizumab and tarextumab.

All of that is Greek to me but this is a cancer conference and OncoMed is an up and coming cancer drug company. They should be right at home and the notes I have read suggest several of their drugs are very promising. They have milestone payments coming from GSK, Bayer and Celgene coming in 2016-2017 of more than $270 million.

Shares have risen steadily since the earnings miss on May 5th. As a preclinical company they do not have retail revenues and depend on funding from their partners. They will have operating losses until their drugs are in the marketplace.

Shares spiked on the 28th after AbbVie said they were buying cancer drug company Stemcentrx for $10.2 billion. That company is in the same stem cell research sector as OMED.

Earnings August 4th.

With the ASCO meeting still 10 days away we could benefit from some of the building excitement and hopefully the company's presentations at the meeting will increase the interest in the stock.

Position 5/23/16:

Closed 6/7/16: Long OMED shares @ $12.80, exit $13.37, +.57 gain.

P - Pandora Media - Company Profile


No specific news. The company announced a new visual ad experience for mobile ads on their platform.

Original Trade Description: June 1st.

Pandora provides internet music streaming services in North America. Listeners can create personalized stations to access free music and comedy catalogs as well as personalized play lists. They offer Pandora One, a paid subscription based service for listeners. They sell audio, video and display advertising for delivery on connected platforms. They also offer a ticketing platform for promoters and advertising to promote their events.

In Q1 active listeners rose to 79.4 million and hours streamed rose 4% to 5.52 billion. They reported a loss of 20 cents but that was 19 cents better than the 39 cent estimate.

Pandora's chairman Jim Hill bought 250,000 shares at $10.97 per share and then another 250,000 shares at $11.33 each. That is close to $6 million in purchases. CFO Mike Herring bought 225,000 shares a couple weeks earlier. Last week somebody bought 12,000 contracts of the September $12 call options. Today somebody bought 1,000 contracts of the July $13 calls and there was another trade for 2,500 of the September $10 calls.

So what is powering this sudden interest in Pandora? In May the hedge fund Corvex Management announced it had acquired a 9.9% stake and demanded the company be sold to the highest bidder. Keith Meister runs the fund and he believes there should be an auction and Facebook should buy the company. Since Pandora has only a $3 billion market cap that should be attractive to Facebook because it would get those 79 million listeners to further spread its advertising reach across the internet.

Apple, Google and Amazon already have some type of streaming app and that leaves Facebook as the likely candidate. Barron's suggested Verizon or Liberty Media could buy them. Sirius XM was also mentioned as a possible buyer.

With plenty of potential acquirers and insiders buying huge amounts of stock there may be some discussions in progress.

Update 6/3/16: Board membr, Timothy Lelweke, bought 10,000 shares on Wednesday at about $11.63 each. He now owns 43,768 shares so that was almost a 30% increase in his holdings. Something is definitely going on behind the scenes to generate all this insider buying. Position 6/2/16

Long Pandora shares @ $12.08. See portfolio graphic for stop loss.

No option recommended but the July $13 is only 62 cents.

SWIR - Sierra Wireless - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares are still holding at resistance at $20. I am not dropping the recommendation because it is holding right at the resistance high. The longer it holds here the more likely we will see a breakout.

The position remains unopened until a trade at $20.30. High today was $20.19.

Original Trade Description: May 26th.

Sierra Wireless engages in building the Internet of Things with intelligent wireless solutions. They operate in three segments, Original Equipment Manafacturer, Enterprise Solutions, and Cloud Connectivity Services. They offer cellular embedded modules, software and tools to integrate wireless connectivity into various products and solutions.

In their recent earnings they reported an adjusted profit of 8 cents. Revenue declined -5.1% because of previously reported softness in orders from several existing automotive customers. For Q2 they expect earnings in the range of 9-17 cents on revenue of $150-$160 million. For the full year they guided to earnings of 60-90 cents on revenue of $630-$670 million. They bought back 549,583 shares in the quarter.

The revenue in the OEM solutions segment declined -9.1% due to softness in auto production in Q1. Enterprise solutions revenue rose 9% and cloud and connectivity systems revenue rose 92%. They began upgrading their global LTE core network to provide additional connectivity for wholesale operators.

In their guidance, they said business should improve significantly because of more than 40 new customer programs moving into production on new IoT products. They manufacture to customer specifications when the customer adds a new product.

Earnings Aug 4th.

To go from an 8 cent profit in Q1 to 60-90 cents for the full year is a major gain in profitability. Shares have been rising since the earnings report and showing no weakness when the market was down.

With a SWIR trade at $20.30

Buy SWIR shares, currently $19.90, initial stop loss $18.45.
No options recommended due to wide spreads.

UIS - Unisys Corp - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares hit a 3-month high intraday but fell back with the market at the close.

Original Trade Description: June 6th.

Unisys Corporation provides information technology services worldwide. It operates through two segments, Services and Technology. The Services segment provides cloud and infrastructure services, application services, and business process outsourcing services. The Technology segment designs and develops software, servers, and related products. It offers a range of data center, infrastructure management, and cloud computing offerings for clients to virtualize and automate data-center environments. This segments product offerings include enterprise-class servers, such as the ClearPath Forward family of fabric servers; the Unisys Stealth family of security software; and operating system software and middleware. The company serves commercial, financial services, public sector, and the U.S. federal government through direct sales force, distributors, resellers, and alliance partners.

Unisys has morphed in its 143 years of operation into a global cloud, IT and infrastructure services company. That is a long way from the original company that produced the first commercially viable typewriters and adding machines under the name Burroughs, Sperry and Remington Rand.

Today one of their main products is Unisys Stealth for protection of digital and physical assets. Stealth Mobile protects secur emobile applications and Stealth Cloud expands that protection to the cloud.

Just before their recent earnings they announced a deal with Mitel to provide the Unisys stealth technology to protect their 60 million mobile and enterprise customers. Business is booming but it has been a long time coming. In Q1 revenue declined -3% and services declined -2%. However, the company said its "lumpy" quarter-to-quarter strategy was changing with a stronger focus on the Stealth products and their rapid wide scale adoption. They expect the amount of money spent on cybersecurity to more than double from the $75 billion in 2015 to more than $170 billion in 2020. The cost of data breaches will rise to $2.1 trillion annually by 2019 and more than four times the cost in 2015.

Unisys has been a stealth company for the last year with shares declining from $30 to $7. With their new products and the rapid acceptance of those products their stock is rebounding off the three month consolidation pattern.

Earnings July 28th.

Shares moved over resistance at $8.25 last week and are preparing to move higher. The big decline in March was a $190 million offering of convertible senior notes due 2021 with a conversion price of $9.76. That was a 20% premium to the stock price post announcement.

If the current rebound continues the next material resistance is $12.

Position 6/7/16:

Long UIS shares @ $8.47, no initial stop loss.


Long October $9 call @ 80 cents. No stop loss.

BEARISH Play Updates

ENDP - Endo Intl Plc - Company Description


No specific news. Finally a decline. The decline was post ASCO related and hopefully it will continue. We still have a long put option open. At 5 cents, it was not worth a stop loss. We have two weeks before that expires and anything is possible now that ASCO is over.

Original Trade Description: May 11th.

Endo develops, manufactures and distributes pharmaceutical products and devices worldwide. The market well known brands including Percocet, Lidoderm, Voltaren and a wide range of pain medications and testosterone replacement therapies.

Shares have declined from $26 last week to $14 today. The company slashed full year guidance by -11% on revenue and -23% on earnings. The acceleration of the decline over the last several weeks has been in reaction to some generic competitors expected to receive approvals from the FDA soon.

The company also disclosed they were being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for its relationship with pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. In light of the improper relationship between Valeant and Philidor the USAO is investigating to see if the same problems exist at Endo. In November, Novartis had to pay a $390 million fine to settle charges it paid specialty pharmacies for illegal kickbacks in exchange for inducing patients to refill certain medications.

Endo is also under pressure as a result of the Valeant Pharmaceutical disaster and the overall decline in the biotech sector.

Earnings are August 4th.

Even though shares are down significantly from the May 6th news, I believe they will continue falling and could go into single digits. The similarities to Valeant's pharmacy problems and the impact to Valeant's stock are too close and should weigh on Endo.

Position 5/12/16:

Long June $12.50 put @ $1.05, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Previously closed 6/1/16: Short ENDP shares @ $13.81, exit $16.45, -2.64 loss.

NLNK - Newlink Genetics - Company Profile


No specific news. -5% decline after ASCO.

Original Trade Description: June 4th.

NewLink Genetics Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing immunotherapeutic products to enhance treatment options for patients with cancer. Its portfolio includes biologic product candidates based on its HyperAcute cellular immunotherapy technology, which is designed to stimulate the human immune system; and small-molecule product candidates that are focused on breaking the immune system's tolerance to cancer by inhibiting the indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase pathway and the tryptophan-2, 3-dioxygenase pathway.

The company's lead product candidate, algenpantucel-L, an investigational immunotherapy, was being studied in Phase III clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer. They announced on May 10th the drug did not meet the goals of the study and may have actually made the patient sicker in the process. The company said a late-stage clinical trial for its algenpantucel-L treatment did not statistically improve survival rates in patients with resected pancreatic cancer. "In light of these negative results, our scientific and clinical teams will focus on other promising opportunities in our pipeline," said CEO Charles Link. Patients treated with the drug lived an average of 27.3 months compared to 30.4 months on existing treatment programs.

Shares collapsed from $17 to $9 and that was already down from $60 late in 2015. The problem is that Newlink had invested a lot of time and effort in that drug and it had already progressed into stage III trials. That cost them a lot of momentum and investors lost interest. Analysts now say that Newlink's cancer vaccine platform is now empty. They will have to rely more heavily on its IDO inhibitors, another form of cancer immunotherapy, which is only in early stage development. This field is very crowded and Newlink is fading to the back of the pack.

Earnings July 28th AM.

Shares of Newlink rose slowly from $10 to just under $13 on the ramp into ASCO. Investors were definitely not excited about the companies potential for a market moving presentation. Shares fell -8% on Friday as traders sold the ASCO news before the weekend. Nobody wanted to end up holding a company on Monday that was sinking on a negative headline. If some other company announces some new treatment than everyone else in the space will decline.

The conference runs until Tuesday afternoon so I am putting an entry trigger on the position just to make sure it is going lower before we jump in.

Position 6/6/16 with a NLNK trade at $11.15

Short NLNK shares, currently $12.24. Initial stop loss $12.65.

No options recommended because of wide spreads.

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