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Why Virgin Galactic Stock Gave Back 10% This Morning

By Rich Smith - Jan 23, 2020 at 12:25PM

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What went up just came back down.

What happened

There's no two ways about it: Virgin Galactic stock has had an incredible run.

Since Morgan Stanley announced its support for Virgin Galactic stock a little over a month ago, and described how a move from space tourism to point-to-point hypersonic jet travel could result in a $22 share price for Virgin, the stock has very nearly made that prediction come true. In just six short weeks, Virgin Galactic stock has nearly tripled from $7.26 a share to $19.72 as of yesterday's close.

But did Virgin rise too far, too fast?

It's a reasonable question -- and one sparked by today's price action, where we saw Virgin Galactic (SPCE -2.08%) stock tumble more than 10% in early trading. (The stock's still down 6.1% as of 11:20 a.m. EST, by the way).

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocketing towards space

Image source: Virgin Galactic.

So what

When Morgan Stanley made its prediction last month, it was predicting a target price of $22 a share a year from now. That would imply steadily improving news flow out of the company, as Virgin Galactic reported consecutive quarters of perhaps lower losses than expected, of customer acquisitions, steady progress toward commercial operations -- maybe even an actual flight carrying paying passengers to space!

None of that has happened yet, of course. And yet, by yesterday, Virgin Galactic had already moved to within striking distance of Morgan Stanley's target price.

Now what

With a whole series of events -- none certain -- already baked into Virgin Galactic's stock price as if they were certain to happen, perhaps Virgin Galactic's stock price had in fact gotten a bit ahead of itself, claiming nearly as much price gain in a month and a half as it was expected to realize in a year.

It's still up mightily from December's nadir, however. And if the stock's recent gains were not sparked by any good news over the past few weeks, then investors today can perhaps take comfort in this fact: Today's losses aren't due to any bad news, either.

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