Moderna Stock Soars on Vaccine Deal

MRNA just came off its best month on record

Deputy Editor
May 1, 2020 at 10:13 AM
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Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) is brushing off the broad-market selloff this morning, up 6.2% to trade at $48.89, after the biotech entered a 10-year collaboration deal with contract drugmaker Lonza Group (LONN) to manufacture up to 1 billion doses annually of a MRNA's possible COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. The vaccine is still in its early stage trial phase, but is expected to begin mid-stage testing by the second quarter. 

Shares of MRNA hit a record high of $56.38 on Apr. 21, following a bull gap brought on by news its mRNA-1273 vaccine received millions in funding. The security has cooled since this high, though the $45 region has emerged as support. For the year, the security is still up over 136%. Plus, MRNA just came off its best month on record, tacking on 53.6% in April. 

A look at analyst sentiment shows the majority in coverage are optimistic on Moderna. Seven consider it a "buy" or better, while just one says "hold." Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month price target of $46.90 is a mere 2% premium to last night's close. 

Since we last covered MRNA, short interest is still on the rise, up 1% in the last reporting period. The 23.88 million shares sold short represent almost 12% of the stock's available float now, and would take 1.5 days to cover at the equity's average pace of trading. 

In the options pits, bearish sentiment is unusually high, too. While calls are still outnumbering puts at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), MRNA's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.45 sits in the 98th percentile of its annual range. This means long puts have rarely been more popular in the past 12 months. 

 


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