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Why Moderna stock fell 32% in December

Investors in the COVID-19 vaccine maker took some profits last month.
The post Why Moderna stock fell 32% in December appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

A glass jar labelled COVID_19 vaccine sits on a bench with capsules and precriptions drugs.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

Shares of biotech Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), maker of a COVID-19 vaccine, dropped 31.6% in December, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

For context, the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP: .INX) returned 3.8% last month.

So what

We can attribute Moderna stock’s 32% drop last month to profit taking. After all, shares were up a whopping 581% in 2020 through the end of November, so it wasn’t surprising that some investors took some money off the table in December. Moderna stock ended the year with a 434% gain.  

Shares of Moderna began their long climb early in 2020 when the company announced that it was developing a vaccine to immunise against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As the below chart shows, the stock had a sharp run-up in November. It skyrocketed 126% in that month, driven by a string of great news about mRNA-1273, which was then a messenger RNA-based vaccine candidate.

On 30 November, Moderna announced the positive final results from its phase 3 study. As I previously wrote, “It found its vaccine candidate to be 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19, and it uncovered no serious safety concerns. Moreover, the company said that it had submitted a request with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for mRNA-1273.”

Then on 18 December came “the big news”: Moderna announced the FDA had authorised the emergency use of mRNA-1273. Shares, which had been moving downward throughout December, fell nearly 3% that day. The reason shares dropped on such terrific news is that this news was widely expected and already priced in during November.

The US distribution of the vaccine began the next day, and administration of the first of the two-dose vaccine started on 20 December.

MRNA Chart

Data by YCharts.

Now what

On 18 December, Moderna said that it expected to deliver about 20 million doses to the US government by the end of December 2020. It also expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85 to 100 million of those available in the US. A total of 200 million doses was ordered by the US government, which has the option to purchase up to an additional 300 million doses.

The rollout of Moderna’s vaccine to the states was slower than anticipated in December, but that’s not its fault. The federal government’s Operation Warp Speed is in charge of distribution.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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Beth McKenna has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

The post Why Moderna stock fell 32% in December appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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