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One trader minted millions yesterday (Thursday) thanks to Twitter and the short-selling firm Citron Research.
It all started when a trader, who remains anonymous, woke up and bought over 5,000 put contracts of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts Holding Co. (Nasdaq: ESRX). At the time, the contracts were selling for $1.55 apiece. This was the largest options trade involving ESRX stock yesterday and amounted to $840,000.
"It is unclear, of course, who this options buyer was, and what information they may have been privy to," CNBC reported last night.
No matter what prompted the trader to make this move, Citron – a short-selling company famous for targeting stocks that are overvalued – posted the following tweets about ESRX at 1:00 p.m., calling it the "Philidor of the pharma industry."
Philidor was the specialty pharmaceutical company associated with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) – a corporation that's been plagued by scandal since August 2015. The two firms once partnered to push Valeant's high-price drugs to patients instead of cheaper generic alternatives.
So it seems those at Citron suspect ESRX may be up to shady price practices of its own.
After the research firm's scathing tweets, ESRX shares fell 8% over the course of just one hour – from $73.90 at 12:30 p.m. down to $68.18 at 1:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the prices of options contracts on Express Scripts climbed 122% from $1.55 to $6.50.
By market close yesterday, the anonymous early-morning trader had minted a cool $2.7 million…
Upon hearing this news, Citron founder Andrew Left told CNBC's "Fast Money" that he was "upset that someone [profited so heavily] off of my work."
Regardless of this disapproval, however, Left – as founder of the short-selling firm – should understand more than anyone else that options trading is all about such "perfect timing."
Yesterday's "lucky" trader simply saw a prime opportunity and he took it.
Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael E. Lewitt certainly understands the importance of timing trades, too. He was among the first to call Valeant's epic downfall, after all…
Thanks to Lewitt's extensive research predicting how and when the big pharma leviathan would eventually fail, his investors netted 700% gains in the end.