THE DATA IS THE NEWS
Category:

Health Care

We tracked $951 billion of short interest in the U.S./Canadian region and the top ten most and least profitable short trades for the month of February were:

Most Profitable Shorts

(in $ millions)

TickerSectorFeb. Avg.

Short Int.

Feb. MTM

P/L

Feb. MTM

P/L %

Wal-Mart StoresWMTHypermarkets$3,620+$665.4+18.38%
Tesla IncTSLAAuto Manufacturer$9,984+$599.9+6.01%
CVS CorpCVSDrug Retail$3,020+$545.3+18.05%
Comcast CorpCMCSACable & Satellite$2,868+$488.7+17.04%
Advanced Micro DevAMDSemiconductors$1,996+$460.6+23.07%
Chevron CorpCVXIntegrated Oil & Gas$2,613+$451.4+17.28%
Exxon Mobile CorpXOMIntegrated Oil & Gas$2,751+$433.3+15.75%
Alphabet Inc AGOOGLInternet Software & Svcs$3,972+$409.2+10.30%
MiMedx Group IncMDXGBiotechnology$512+$371.9+72.59%
Akorn IncAKRXPharmaceuticals$741+$366.0+49.39%
  • WMT After a rally which lasted for all of 2107 and stretched into January 2018, Wal-Mart’s stock price has been declining since it reported quarterly earnings which missed on profits, beat on sales and disclosed 2018 guidance below expectations.
  • TSLA After hitting $357.42 in late February, Tesla’s stock price began to tumble as it nears its 200,000th vehicle delivery which will mark the eventual phase out of the U.S. Government’s $7,500 tax credit.
  • CVS CVS shares trended lower when the DOJ asked for more details on the CVS-Aetna merger. Even their strong quarterly results, which beat on earnings and sales, couldn’t reverse its 14% price drop in February.
  • CMCSA Comcast’s share price took a hit when they disclosed a potential rival bid for Fox’s media assets, Disney has a $52 billion offer on the table, which would have to be topped.
  • AMD After posting solid quarterly earnings, analysts fear that its crypto-mining based growth may be short lived and tenuous due to increased competition.
  • CVX Chevron quarterly results met revenue expectations, but missed badly on earnings after backing out the effect of $2 billion of tax benefits.
  • XOM Exxon Mobil reported lower than expected quarterly earnings due to a drop in demand for its refining business.
  • GOOGL Alphabet had strong quarterly revenues, but earnings underperformed FactSet estimates by $0.28/share even though overall revenues increased by 24%.
  • MDXG MiMedx is delaying the release of its 4th quarter and 2017 full year earnings until it concludes an internal accounting audit. Later In the month reports arose that the DOJ was investigating the company’s sales and distribution practice, specifically regarding government contracts.
  • AKRX Shares plunged after its acquirer, Freenius SE, announced that it was conducting an investigation into Akorn’s product development policies in relation to FDA date integrity procedures.
Least Profitable Shorts

(in $ millions)

TickerSectorFeb. Avg.

Short Int.

Feb. MTM

P/L

Feb. MTM

P/L %

Snap Inc ASNAPApplication Software$1,763-$557.3-31.62%
GrubHub IncGRUBInternet Software & Svcs$1,327-$410.4-30.93%
Netflix IncNFLXInternet Retail$5,859-$386.6-6.60%
Twitter IncTWTRInternet Software & Svcs$1,212-$256.2-21.14%
Apple IncAAPLTechnology & Hardware$7,568-$229.5-3.03%
Ebay IncEBAYInternet Software & Svcs$1,333-$224.0-16.80%
Lumentum HoldingsLITECommunication Equip.$726-$187.0-25.77%
Amazon.Com IncAMZNInternet Retail$7,518-$185.6-2.47%
Micron TechnologyMUSemiconductors$2,618-$180.5-6.90%
Qorvo IncQRVOSemiconductors$744-$177.4-23.84%
  • SNAP Snapchat stock soared over 20% as its quarterly results handily beat expectations on both revenues and Daily Active User growth.
  • GRUB Yum! Brand (YUM) announced a delivery partnership with GrubHub, extending GRUB’s reach across the country. YUM purchased $200 million of GRUB stock to formalize the agreement.
  • NFLX Netflix signed Ryan Murphy, creator of American Horror Story, to a five year deal. NFLX is slowly inching towards the $300/share level which is increasing buying demand from momentum traders.
  • TWTR Twitter reported its first profitable quarter, beating on both revenues and earnings but disappointing slightly on Monthly Active User growth.
  • AAPL Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) increased its Apple stake in the 4th quarter 2017 to 169.6 million shares or $29.7 billion.
  • EBAY Reported strong quarterly results and decided to end its payment processing relationship with PayPal and replacing it with Dutch firm Adyen. EBAY is looking to not only to reduce its payment processing costs but also control more of its operational footprint.
  • LITE Reported strong quarterly earnings including an increase in overall sales, specifically in its 3D-sensing product line.
  • AMZN Amazon began cost cutting measures with over 100 layoffs in its corporate workforce. Amazon is also looking to expand its retail footprint in the medical supply sector, an extension of its possible foray into the retail drug sector. The firm is also starting its own shipping service to compete with UPS for not only its own deliveries but also for their retail partners.
  • MU Micron Technology reported strong earnings, reporting EPS and sales higher than previous guidance culminating with year-to-date earnings that could hit $10/share.
  • QRVO Qorvo reporting better than expected quarterly earnings with slightly weaker short term guidance but stronger long term guidance.

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Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is in the process of acquiring wholesale pharmacy licenses in 12 states according to the St. Louis Dispatch. Although these licenses would not allow them to compete directly with CVS Corp (CVS), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Rite Aid Corp (RAD) it may be the first step in getting retail license that would put Amazon.com in direct competition with the brick and mortar pharmacy retailers.

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At last week’s SALT Conference renowned short seller Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates promoted his short positions in drug maker Mallinckrodt PLC (MNK US) and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX US). MNK is the 10th largest short in the Pharmacy sector, but is the most profitable short in the sector in 2017, while ESRX is both the largest short in the Health Care Services sector and the most profitable in the sector in 2017.

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Shares of Express Scripts (ESRX US), the pharmacy benefit manager, declined 2.4% during Friday’s trading session after well-known activist short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research penned a research report with a $45 price target for the company, which is about a third lower than where ESRX shares trade today.  In the report, Citron states that ESRX “deserves to fall to the mighty sword of the new Trump administration.”  Left even went so far as to label the company the “Gotti of Pharma” and tagged @realDonaldTrump on Twitter urging him to “fix drug pricing with one stroke” by investigating the existing PBM rebate (essentially a kickback) model, for which ESRX is a major beneficiary.

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With the Allergan (AGN US) Pfizer (PFE US) deal terminated, short sellers in Pfizer shares closed out their month long trade and returned Pfizer’s short interest back to pre-deal announcement levels. Pfizer’s borrows rose $4.5 billion, or 88%, in early March as merger arbitrage traders piled into the mega cap trade. These positions have been unwound in the last week, with over $5 billion in buy to covers executed and stock borrows returned. Other Pharmaceutical companies that had significant buy-to-covers this past week were Mallinckrodt LLC (MNK US) down $200 million; Daiichi Sankyo Co (4568 JP) down $150 million and Shire PLC ADR (SHP US) down $150 million. Only two Pharmaceutical companies had significant new short selling last week with Sanofi-Aventis (SAN FP) and Merck (MRK US) who were both up $250 million.

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