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Short Sellers Back Off Big Pharma

The short interest data have been released for the July 31 settlement date. Pharmaceutical companies are usually involved in a lengthy process in getting their drug candidates to market through clinical trials. There is a fair amount of risk involved, should a study come back negative or a candidate not be approved. Conversely, if a drug is approved or passes a clinical trial, there can be big upside.

The July 31 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and for most of the selected stocks, short interest decreased.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) saw its short interest retreat to 49.08 million shares from the previous 50.37 million. In February, short interest spiked incredibly, and since that time it has slowly backed off. The highest short interest reading on the year was 207.4 million. Shares of Pfizer closed Tuesday at $35.12, within a 52-week trading range of $27.51 to $36.46.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) saw short interest decrease to 28.37 million shares from 29.47 million in the previous period. The last few readings have been the highest in the past 52 weeks. Merck shares closed Tuesday at $57.76, in a 52-week trading range of $52.49 to $63.62.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) short interest rose to 9.27 million shares. The level for the previous settlement date was 6.32 million. Shares of Teva closed Tuesday at $69.60, in a 52-week range of $47.36 to $72.31.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) saw its short interest fall to 20.26 million shares from the previous reading of 24.80 million. The past few readings, including the current one, are among the lowest of the year. Bristol-Myers shares closed Tuesday at $62.66, within a 52-week range of $47.55 to $70.54.

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) short interest continued its big turn downward to 44.48 million shares from the previous level of 53.31 million. Short interest has backed way off its highest level year to date; the highest reading in the past 52-weeks was 111.88 million. Shares of AbbVie closed Tuesday at $68.25, in a 52-week trading range of $52.06 to $71.60.

ALSO READ: Short Sellers Run for Cover From Major Biotechs

By Chris Lange


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