In an increasingly sickly looking market, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) has been resurrected from a dead-like experience with investors. The question is, can it last? Let’s take a look at what’s pumping life into shares and whether INO stock is worth buying in today’s market.
It’s not the cure for cancer. But on Wall Street and where the coronavirus from China is spreading a bearish pandemic among risk-assets, shares of Inovio are acting like the cure-all in the eyes of many investors. The stock rocketed higher by nearly 230% on the week on staggering record-breaking volume of roughly 587 million shares.
But there’s more to the rally in Inovio as well.
The obvious bullish interest has allowed Inovio to close in on a 13-year high. Shares have also moved into the double digits above $14 a share as of Friday’s close and firmly into small-cap territory with a market valuation of $1.43 billion. Furthermore and in safer venues than those around the workplace cooler, on the Yahoo Finance message boards, INO stock has enjoyed a healthy surge in conversations totaling more than 21,000.
Yep, investors are suddenly and very definitely interested in Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Not that the stock is alone in its rapid validation among today’s investors. There’s Enzo Biochem (NYSE:ENZ), Nanoviricides (NYSEAMERICAN:NNVC) and Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR), a more recognizable larger-cap stock like Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD). There’s also a host of other companies which have caught Wall Street’s attention in recent weeks as a well-contained COVID-19 health problem has become a global health and financial crisis.
The driver (of course) behind each of these companies’ strong rallies has been an arms race of sorts to help remedy or solve the coronavirus in one way or another. But right now, Inovio does stand apart from many of the other biotechs tackling this problem.
While INO stock is still mired in red ink, Inovio is the only company with an existing phase 2 vaccine used for the MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. It’s a big advantage. Also, this past week, Inovio announced it’s accelerating the timeline for development of its DNA-based vaccine to this combat this new strain of coronavirus. Management expects human trials for INO-4800 to commence in April. But is all of this priced in already?
INO Stock Price Monthly Chart
Source: Charts by TradingView
Aside from the aforementioned street-grabbing stats, INO stock has made other strong inroads as well. Most importantly, last week’s rally burst shares out of six-year long downtrend as shown on the provided monthly chart. But don’t think for a second it’s clear sailing from here for today’s buyers of Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
The strong buying in Inovio now has the stock challenging the 50% retracement level from its 2004 relative high. Shares have also pierced, but fallen back below its MERS-related high of $15.80 set in 2014. Also, Inovio is in an overbought position as evidenced by its price extension above the upper Bollinger Band and the stock’s monthly stochastics.
Ultimately, I’m not overly enthusiastic on Inovio’s longer-term prospects. I’d also stress that given the company’s weak financial position and shares’ rise to price levels associated with its last run-in with Wall Street’s sell-side during the MERS outbreak, the stock is highly speculative. But for investors that dare to see things differently, I’d definitely recommend using the options market and a limited-risk strategy for positioning.
The information offered is based upon Christopher Tyler’s observations and strictly intended for educational purposes only; the use of which is the responsibility of the individual. For additional market insights and related musings, follow Chris on Twitter @Options_CAT and StockTwits.