Options Bulls Blast Pfizer, Moderna Stocks on FDA Booster Approval

Booster doses are to be administered at least six months after the first two

Digital Content Manager
Nov 19, 2021 at 11:35 AM
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Amid a Covid-19 resurgence in Europe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today authorized Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) booster shots for all adults. The move hopes to address waning protection against breakthrough cases of the illness, with booster doses to be administered at least six months after the two first doses. At last check, PFE is up 0.8% at $51.80, after earlier surging to an all-time high of $52.83, while MRNA was last seen up 4.9% at $263.64.

Zeroing in on Pfizer stock, the shares have been on a tear higher since bouncing off the 160-day moving average in October. Today's pop also has shares breaking through a ceiling at the $52 area, which turned down the stock's August peak. Year-over-year, PFE sports a 43.6% lead.

A shift in analyst sentiment could create additional tailwinds for Pfizer stock. Of the 10 in coverage, six still call the equity a tepid "hold," while the remaining four say "strong buy." Plus, the 12-month consensus target price of $48.33 is a 7% discount to current levels, suggesting PFE could be overdue for a round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes. 

Meanwhile, Moderna stock is eyeing its first close above the 200-day moving average since gapping below the trendline two weeks ago, though it's still contending with overhead pressure from its 20-day moving average. The equity had been chopping lower since its Aug. 10, all-time high of $497.49, but has added 50.9% in the last nine months.

What's more, the security's  Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at 99 out of a possible 100. This means Moderna stock has often realized higher volatility than the options pits have priced in, which makes it an excellent premium-buying candidate.

Both names are seeing an influx of bullish options activity in response to today's news. So far, 150,000 calls have crossed the tape for PFE, while MRNA has seen 123,000 calls exchanged so far, which is two and five times what's typically seen at this point, respectively. The most popular option for PFE is the January 2022 43-strike call, while for MRNA the November 270 call takes the cake, with new positions being opened there.

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