Virgin Galactic Stock Reeling After Bernstein's Bearish Turn

SPCE is down more than 53% year-to-date

Digital Content Manager
Sep 9, 2022 at 10:13 AM
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Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE:SPCE) is down 3.5% at $6.06 at last check, after the space travel concern received a downgrade at Bernstein from "market perform" to "underperform," and a price-target cut from $7 to $4. The analyst in question noted the company's pattern of delaying future flight operations, platform redesigns, and need to raise more cash. With commercial flights expected only in 2023 amid higher interest rates, the firm added potential equity sales seem "highly dilutive." 

Bernstein is joining a bearish brokerage bunch, with five of seven analysts in question calling SPCE a tepid "hold" or worse coming into today. Plus, the 46.54 million shares sold short make up 22.4% of the equity's available float, or over one week's worth of pent-up buying power.

Options bears are chiming in as well, with 2,500 puts exchanged so far, which is triple the intraday average, compared to 1,688 calls. Most popular by far is the September 6 put, followed by the 9/9 6.50-strike call. 

Though calls still outpace puts on an overall basis, investors have been picking up puts at a much faster-than-usual pace of late. This is per SPCE's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.71 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits higher than 92% of readings from the past year. 

A familiar floor at the $5.50 level contained Virgin Galactic stock's pullback last week, but the equity remains down 53.1% year-to-date. The 20-day moving average has also been keeping a tight lid on the shares, which may today snap their three-day win streak. 


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