Are Investors Buying or Selling Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PTLA), and What Should You Do?

Recent insider trends for Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTLA) have caught the attention of investors. Patters in insider activity can help analysts formulate an outlook for a stock. In the case of PTLA, the data has a lot to say about how the stock might perform going forward.

Institutions own 79.23% of Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PTLA)’s shares. The total value of these holdings, in millions, is $2,332. Among active positions in the latest quarter, 133 holders increased their positions by a total of 9.19 million shares, 91 holders decreased the positions by a total of 11.92 million shares, and 28 holders held their positions. This works out to a net decrease in ownership of 2.73 million shares, and suggests that institutions are feeling bearish about the stock.

Among new and sold out positions, 41 holders initiated new positions by a total of 956313 shares and 37 holders exited their positions by a total of 7.25 million shares. This nets out to a decrease of 6.29 million shares and is another bearish sign for PTLA.

In the last three months, insiders executed a total of 7 trades. 6 of these were buys and 1 were sells. Insider ownership increased by a total of 53000 shares, which suggests that PTLA’s key executives are feeling more optimistic about the outlook for the stock. The data from the past twelve months tells a different story: insiders executed 15 buys and 26 sells, and ownership decreased by a net of 2.38 million shares.

Short interest is another tool that analysts use to gauge investor sentiment. It represents the number of a stock’s shares that are being shorted by investors. Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTLA)’s short interest is 4.94 million shares, or 8.97% of the float. This represents an increase of 11% in the number of shares being shorted compared to the previous reading, and implies that investors felt more pessimistic about the stock during the past two weeks.

Insider data can help an investor form an outlook on a stock, but it’s important to supplement this data with other information such as technical indicators to form a more complete view. A composite of 13 technical indicators that includes measures such as moving averages and momentum oscillators suggests that PTLA is a Strong sell, which implies that PTLA is expected to underperform the market based on prior trading patterns.


Institutional ownership trends suggest that the stock is cheap and the insider trading data indicates that insiders are bullish. Technical indicators (also) suggest that Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTLA) is overvalued.

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