MRNA Can't Capitalize on COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Reports that the White House could fast-track a competitor's vaccine is putting pressure on MRNA today

Deputy Editor
Aug 24, 2020 at 10:02 AM
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Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) is slipping lower this morning, down 1.9% at $62.50, despite an announcement from the biotech that enrollment levels for its late-stage 30,000-patient COVID-19 vaccine trial have exceeded 40% -- along with a potential deal with the European Union (EU). Reports that the White House could be fast tracking AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be putting pressure on MRNA today. 

From a technical standpoint,  it appears the stock's 10-day moving average has emerged as a ceiling on the charts, coming in shortly after MRNA's all-time high of $95.21 late last month. The security is losing its footing near its recently supportive 80-day moving average too, though the shares still boast a roughly 239% lead for the year. 

The brokerage bunch seems to be holding out hope for a rebound. Just three of the 13 in coverage call it a "hold," compared to 10 "buy" or better ratings. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $93.62 is a 40.9% premium to Friday's close. 

Option players, however, have begun changing their tune. While calls still outnumber puts at an overall basis, MRNA's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.53 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands higher than 91% of readings from the past year. 

Short sellers are taking interest in MRNA, too. In the last reporting period, short interest rose 10%. Now, the 27.19 million shares sold short make up 8.7% of Moderna's available float. 



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