Moderna Stock Volatility Leads to Worst Month in Turbulent Year
(Bloomberg) -- It’s been a wild ride for Moderna Inc. with its shares posting their biggest monthly decline this year as investor optimism wanes on the Covid-19 vaccine maker.
Moderna has slumped 28% in a month that experienced a six-day losing streak -- its longest since 2019 -- amid advancements in coronavirus pills by rivals Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. and a fast-spreading omicron coronavirus variant. Shares have come under pressure in recent months, pulling back about 48% from an all-time high.
“There were a bunch of variables that came into play that were out of their control” in the second half of the year, Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh said, such as increasing competition from Pfizer Inc., patent disputes with the National Institutes of Health, and questions around omicron. Third quarter earnings also dented sentiment, said Singh, who has a market perform rating on the stock.
The stock’s measure of 100-day volatility hit its highest level for the year earlier this month, about seven times more than the S&P 500’s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Despite the retreat in the last few months, it has still remained among the top performers in the S&P 500 for 2021. It has advanced for three straight sessions through Friday and has risen almost 1,200% in the past two years as the pandemic made it a household name.
For the first half of the year, Moderna soared as it showed it could scale up production of its vaccine and it drew broader attention as it was added to the S&P 500, Singh said by phone. After August things changed.
“Since its peak in August, the biggest question regarding Moderna stock has been on booster compliance,” said Cowen analyst Tyler Van Buren, who also has a market perform rating on the stock. “In other words, will the majority of people get boosters, and if they do, how often will they be?”
Vaccine stocks dipped as antiviral pills for Covid-19 were approved. Pfizer has fluctuated since setting a record high earlier this month. The company’s Covid-19 antiviral pill was recently authorized by both U.S. and U.K. regulators. Another vaccine maker Novavax Inc. said on Friday it submitted its final data to the Food and Drug Administration for its Covid jab and expects apply for an emergency use authorization in a month.
Moderna’s stock is now trading below the average analyst price target, according to Bloomberg data, while they have nine buy, six hold and five sell ratings on the stock.
A spokesperson for the company had no comment.
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