Moderna Stock Pops on Upgraded Covid-19 Booster Data

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MRNA’s upgraded booster shot targets the Covid-19 omicron variant

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) revealed earlier a study of an upgraded version of its Covid-19 vaccine, which also targets the Omicron strain, produced a better immune as a booster than its original shot, raising virus-neutralizing antibodies eightfold. The biotetch name noted it will submit the preliminary data to regulators “in the coming weeks,” and expects the booster shot to be available later this summer. At last check, MRNA is up 3.4% at $150.31.

The last time we checked on Moderna stock, the company was eyeing a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of its Covid-19 vaccine in young children. The shares are fresh off a May 12, one-year low of $119.01, but the $155 area — which has turned down several rallies over the past month — remains as a potential ceiling. Year-to-date, MRNA carries a 42.8% deficit.

Analysts are yet to chime in on the announcement, but remain mostly hesitant towards the security. In fact, nine of the 14 in question call MRNA a tepid “hold” or worse, while five say “strong buy.” 

Options bulls are already targeting the equity, however. So far, 8,151 calls have been exchanged, which is double the intraday average, and more than double the 3,008 puts traded so far. Most popular is the weekly 6/10 150-strike call, followed by the 6/10 155-strike call in the same series. 

These traders are in luck, as MRNA’s Schaeffer’s Volatility Scorecard (SVS) ranks at 99 out of 100, indicating the stock has exceeded options traders’ volatility expectations over the past year.