MRNA Soars to Record Highs After COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The vaccine can also remain stable longer than originally thought

Deputy Editor
Nov 16, 2020 at 10:39 AM
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Last Thursday, Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) gave investors an update regarding their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, but were unable to report on the vaccine's effectiveness. That changed today when the biotech giant announced its vaccine had an efficacy rate of over 94%, with no significant safety concerns. Additionally, the vaccine will remain stable at refrigerated temperatures for 30 days, which is up from the prior estimate of one week. In response, MRNA is surging, up 7.8% to trade at $96.31, after earlier hitting a new record high of $103.20. 

Today marks the fourth straight rise for the already flourishing equity. While the security did spend most of September and October middling on the charts, the 140-day moving average provided a solid springboard to launch MRNA to 46.8% lead this month, and a 392.9% rise in 2020. 

In the options pits, there's a whirlwind of activity taking on both sides. In the first hour of trading, over 71,000 calls and 43,000 puts have already exchanged hands -- nine times the intraday average, with volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its annual range. The two most popular contracts are the November 100- and 105-strike calls, with positions being opened at both. 

Still, while calls are outpacing puts on an overall basis, Moderna stock sports a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.51 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands higher than 96% of readings from the past year. This suggests a much healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late. Echoing this, MRNA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.01 is ranked in the 99th annual percentile -- meaning short-term speculators are more put-skewed than usual.


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