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Tiny birth control stock soars following Roe v. Wade overturn

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

There’s a saying on Wall Street that traders often sell the news. Well, that hasn’t been the case with a tiny reproductive health company following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month.

Shares of Evofem Biosciences, which makes a hormone-free contraceptive vaginal gel named Phexxi, have more than doubled since the court ruled that abortion rights are no longer federally protected by the Constitution, leaving it up to states to decide whether or not to ban abortions.

Evofem Biosciences had already been preparing for more interest in its products even before the ruling was official.

“When women are denied safe, legal abortion, the importance of access to FDA-approved contraception is greater than it has ever been,” Saundra Pelletier, president and CEO of Evofem Biosciences, said during the company’s latest earnings call in early May, just days after a draft version of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion was leaked.

Still, the big move in the stock has caught the attention of skeptical traders as well. Short sellers investors who borrow shares and sell them with the hopes of buying them back at a lower price and pocketing the difference — have ramped up their bets against the stock.

S&P Global Market Intelligence noted in a report last week that Evofem Biosciences is now one of the most heavily shorted stocks in the entire market. The amount of stock being held short, known as short interest, in the company went up from about 6% of available shares in mid-June to more than 50% by the end of that month.

This clearly shows that there are big risks — in addition to the possible rewards — from trying to trade stocks based on headlines. Even though Evofem Biosciences shares are still up sharply from their pre-Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling levels, the stock has pulled back sharply from its post-decision peak.

Evofem Biosciences now trades at around 80 cents a share, after hitting a high of $1.57 in early July. (The stock was below 40 cents before the Supreme Court ruling.) Trading volume has been extremely high as well, a sign of the increased interest from both bulls and bears.

Evofem Biosciences isn’t the only small reproductive healthcare stock that’s been on a wild ride in the past month. Femasys, which is developing what it claims will be a permanent contraceptive solution called FemBloc, is up nearly 40% since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

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