MRNA Soars After Successful COVID-19 Vaccine Study

The equity is up an impressive 486.4% year-over-year

Fernanda Horner
Jul 15, 2020 at 11:05 AM
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The shares of Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) are up 10.4% at $82.83 this morning, earlier hitting a fresh record high of $88.37, after a small-scale study showed its potential COVID-19 vaccine produced high levels of virus-killing antibodies, bolstering hopes the shot could protect against the respiratory disease. No serious side effects were reported in the study, and the biotech firm said it expects to deliver about 500 million doses a year, or possibly up to 1 billion doses per year starting in 2021.

The successful study has lifted MRNA up on the charts. Though shares had recently pulled back and found overhead pressure at the $66 level, support from the 60-day moving average have pushed off any large setbacks. Longer term, the equity is performing well, and sports an impressive 486.4% lead year-over-year.

Analysts were majorly optimistic toward MRNA coming into today, with 11 of the 12 in coverage sporting a "buy" or better rating, and only one carrying a tepid "hold." Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month price target of $96.58 is a whopping 15.3% premium to current levels. Short sellers are building their positions too, however. Short interest is up 25.3% in the last two reporting periods, and the 28.64 million shares sold short make up 9.7% of MRNA's available float.

In the options pits, it looks as if calls are more than tripling puts. In the last 10 days, 68,754 calls were exchanged, as opposed to just 22,398 puts. On the other hand, MRNA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands higher than 83% of readings from the past year, implying short-term options traders have been more put-biased than usual.


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