Shares of Virgin Galactic (SPCE -3.29%) soared another 13% by 11:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday. Fueling the aerospace company's stock was news that NASA has approved rival SpaceX to become the first company to send humans into space.
Virgin Galactic's stock has rocketed an eye-popping 200% this year. It's up even more since its unique IPO last fall, as investors grow increasingly excited by the prospects of the company's space tourism program. That potential money-making business got a boost today when NASA gave SpaceX the approval to become the first company to take humans into space. It will send four privately paying space tourists into orbit aboard its Crew Dragon capsule in the late 2021 to 2022 timeframe.
Investors are betting that Virgin Galactic will soon report something similar, potentially tomorrow, when its CEO presents at an investor conference.
Analysts, however, are growing increasingly concerned about Virgin Galactic's soaring stock. Morgan Stanley, for example, said that shares have surged "too much too soon" and could use "a breather." One factor fueling that view is that momentum and not fundamentals is the main factor powering Virgin Galactic's surge. That's because it's currently the only publicly traded option for those who want to bet on the future of commercial space tourism.
Virgin Galactic came public last fall valued at more than $1 billion. Investors have since bid up the value of the aerospace company to more than $5 billion on the bet that it will eventually make a mint sending humans into space. While shares could keep skyrocketing as more investors pile in, this stock could quickly fall back to earth once speculators lose interest, making it a very risky bet right now.