Signal Says Buy the Dip on This Vaccine Stock

An unwind of pessimism in MRNA's options pits could also help the shares

Deputy Editor
Feb 13, 2023 at 11:40 AM
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Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock was last seen trading at $169.88. The vaccine maker's shares are off by 5.3% in 2023, even after tailwinds from a positive late-stage trials at the end of January. There's a silver lining; MRNA has pulled back to a historically bullish trendline that could --if past is precedent -- jumpstart the stock's 2023.

Specifically, Moderna just came within one standard deviation of its 120-day moving average after a lengthy stretch above the trendline. Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White defines this period as the equity trading above the moving average for 80% of the time over the past two months, and closing north of the trendline in eight of the last 10 sessions.

Per White's data, five similar signals occurred during the past three years, and MRNA was higher one month later after four of those signals, averaging a one-month return of 23.1%. A similar move from its current perch would put Moderna stock near $210 -- levels not seen since December. 

MRNA Chart February 132023

There's plenty of pent-up pessimism in Moderna's options pits, per the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.11 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits higher than 77% of readings from the past 12 months, indicating long puts have been getting picked up at a much faster-than-usual clip lately.

Echoing this, MRNA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands higher than 86% of readings in the same time span. This implies short-term options traders have been more put-biased than usual.


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