What happened

Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) stock is getting ready to report earnings -- and shareholders are ebullient. On Monday, Virgin shares soared nearly 10% at one point, before retracing to close the day up a still healthy 6.9%.

Why? This morning, Virgin Galactic announced its earnings release date for fiscal fourth quarter and full-year 2019 numbers. Earnings will arrive February 25, after close of trading for the day. 

SpaceShipTwo attached to WhiteKnightTwo.

Image source: Virgin Galactic.

So what

Wait. What? That's the news? But isn't "February 25" still a month and a half away?

Well, yes, actually it is. And anticipating good news from Virgin Galactic six weeks out seems like a pretty poor excuse for bidding up the stock nearly 10% today. But lacking any other catalysts to point to, this does appear to be the thing that investors are latching onto as a reason for optimism today.

Now what

What will Virgin Galactic report next month? Certainly not profits, nor even much in the way of revenue. According to Yahoo! Finance estimates, most analysts agree Virgin will end up losing $0.82 per share this year -- and booking only $4.5 million in sales. (Hint: The company has already booked $4.5 million in sales this year, so there's probably going to be no new money at all coming in, in Q4). 

Instead, investors will be focusing on commentary from Virgin Galactic management, and hoping that the company's first commercial launch (or even an announcement of a date) will be enough to lift the stock.

Of course, at the rate Virgin Galactic stock is going up already, by the time the news comes out, the gains may already have been made.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.