Options Traders Flock to Moderna Stock After Vaccine Update

Madrid-based Rovi will be in charge of the "fill and finish" stage of manufacturing

Assistant Editor
Nov 12, 2020 at 10:19 AM
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After all the news surrounding a possible COVID-19 vaccine this week, it's no surprise that the former frontrunner Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) chimed in this morning with an update on their candidate. The biotech giant announced it had enough data from a late-stage trial to begin a planned interim analysis, though no date was given for when it would report on the vaccine's effectiveness. In response, MRNA is soaring, last seen up 2.1% at $84.21. 

Today's positive price action has resulted in Moderna stock toppling the $84 level for the first time since July 20, which coincides with the equity's all-time high of $95.21. MRNA is on track for its seventh win in the last eight trading days, and has tacked on 343.5% in 2020.

Today's options pits are flashing a flurry activity. In the first hour of trading, over 17,000 calls and 6,475 puts have already exchanged hands -- eight times the intraday average and volume pacing in the 99th percentile of the last 12 months. The two most popular contracts are the weekly 11/13 90- and 95-strike calls, and new positions are being opened at both.

Lastly, a short squeeze could help propel MRNA even higher. Short interest has begun to taper off, down 9.6% in the most recent reporting period, yet the 27.34 million shares sold short accounts for 8.5% of the stock's total available float. At the equity's average pace of trading, it would take just over two days for shorts to buy back their bearish bets.

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