MRNA Plummets Despite Upbeat Earnings, Sales Forecast

Options traders are chiming in after the event

Assistant Editor
May 6, 2021 at 10:16 AM
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The shares of Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) are careening this morning, down 10.3% to trade $146.03, and brushing off the company's first-ever profit. Specifically, the drugmaker reported better-than-expected earnings, though its first-quarter revenue did fall short of Wall Street's estimates. Meanwhile, Moderna raised the 2021 sales forecast of its Covid-19 vaccine to $19.2 billion.

Moderna stock has experienced a stellar year on the charts, logging a record high of $189.26 on Feb. 8. Though it pulled back in March, the equity quickly rose back to the $189 level just three sessions ago. Now facing pressure from the 40-day moving average, MRNA has shed 19% in the last month, though it remains up 38.8% in 2021.

Today's options pits are flashing a flurry of activity on both sides of the fence, though puts are edging out calls. In the first hour of trading, over 22,000 puts have crossed the tape, seven times the intraday average, versus 20,000 calls, with overall volume at five times what's typically seen at this point. Most popular is the January 2022 130 put, where new positions are being opened, followed by the monthly May 220 call.

And this penchant for puts has been the norm of late, according to Moderna stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits in the 78th percentile of its annual range. This indicates puts are being picked up at a relatively faster-than-usual rate. 

What's more, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at 86 out of a possible 100. This means Moderna stock has managed to exceed volatility expectations during the past year -- a boon for option buyers. 

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