A gain of 151.13% in 2019 for shares of Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARWR) tells of story of big demand for the shares. The activity here is likely big buying in the shares – it's bullish activity because the shares are heading higher on increasing volumes, indicating that a buyer is involved. 

Smart money managers are always looking to bet on the next outlier stocks … the best in class. For Mapsignals, it's not enough to look at technicals and fundamentals alone. The key lies in the demand for shares.

I'll go into the fundamental picture later, but the true tell on the near-term trajectory of a stock lies in its trading activity. Simply put, it's all about supply and demand. When demand is higher than supply, the stock rises. When demand is lower than supply, stocks fall. For 2019, Arrowhead stock has seen monster demand.

For Mapsignals, when we look for an entry on a leading stock, we want to see an increase of potential buying. Just to show you what our unusual trading activity signals look like, have a look at all of the unusual institutional (UI) signals Arrowhead stock has made over the past year. Focusing on 2019, you can see a lot of buy signals (green) that line up with a lift in the shares. This is exactly the kind of setup we look for at our research firm. We want to bet on the candidates that are likeliest to head higher. We want an edge. Stocks move based on supply and demand. This is a chart showing big demand:

Chart showing the unusual institutional (UI) signals made by Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARWR)

So far in 2019, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals stock has logged 14 unusually high-volume days, indicative of buying in the shares (see chart above). This demand can quietly lift shares. It has been happening quite a bit recently. These data points suggest that demand for the stock is increasing.

If you are going to make a bet on the direction of a stock, it is prudent to pay attention to how the shares are trading. Just like you don't want to fight the trend, you also don't want to fight a stock that shows increasing price alongside an increase in the volume traded. Someone could potentially be accumulating a position.

Mapsignals' goal is to identify tomorrow's top stocks today. We're basically looking for outlier companies with healthy fundamentals accompanied by outsized unusual institutional trading activity. We are looking for big money. Big money moves stocks. By studying these data points, we can make an educated guess as to which equities institutions are trafficking in and marry this information with fundamentally sound companies. We want the odds on our side when looking for the highest-quality stocks.

When we decide on a strong candidate, we consider leaders that have a history of technical outperformance. When they show leadership, we see these as opportunities. The following are a few areas in which Arrowhead stock has grabbed our attention year to date (YTD):

  • YTD outperformance vs. market: +134.48% vs. SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY
  • YTD outperformance vs. pharmaceuticals ETF: +152.71% vs. SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (XPH)
  • Recent big buy signals

Now, we take it a step further and score the best stocks showing unusual trading activity. Below you can see the historical times since 2018 when Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals made buy signals for Mapsignals. These are the highest-rated signals in our stock universe. What jumps out in the chart is how the stock has jumped shortly after these buy signals hit. Below is the chart showing all Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals buy signals since 2018:

Chart showing the top-rated buy signals made by Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARWR)

On top of a technical picture that is strong, one should also look under the hood to see if the fundamental picture supports a long-term investment. As you can see, Arrowhead's latest earnings report showed growth:

  • Q3 2019 revenue was $42.6 million vs. $727,000 in the prior year
  • Q3 2019 net income was $20.3 million vs. -$15.6 million the prior year

Arrowhead shares are breaking out to highs with big demand. The company has clearly turned a corner financially, and it appears that big money is taking notice. We like the long-term story of the stock. The narrative for Arrowhead is that its best days are likely ahead.

We are always on the lookout for companies showing big buy activity in the shares. Very few pharma stocks are seeing this kind of activity. The best companies in a group tend to outperform over the long run. All of this points to a long-term opportunity for the stock.

The Bottom Line

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals stock is breaking out quietly. Our big buying indicator is signaling that we should take notice. Shares could be positioned for more upside. Given the lift in price, big buy demand, and healthy fundamentals, this stock could be worth a spot in a growth-oriented portfolio. 

Disclosure: The author holds no position in Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals at the time of publication.