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Why Quidel Stock Soared 27% in March While the Market Plunged

By Beth McKenna - Updated Apr 8, 2020 at 2:14PM

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The coronavirus pandemic sank the market last month, but it was directly responsible for lifting shares of this healthcare diagnostics company.

What happened

Shares of Quidel (QDEL), which manufactures diagnostic healthcare products, jumped 26.6% in March, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

For context, last month, the S&P 500 index returned negative 12.4%. The market sell-off was due to investors' concerns about the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This month, Quidel stock has sunk 10.5% through April 7, compared to the broader market's 2.9% gain. So far in 2020, it's up 16.7%, whereas the S&P 500 has returned negative 17.2%.

A gloved hand holding a vial of blood labeled "coronavirus" with "no" checked (instead of "yes")

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

We can attribute Quidel stock's robust performance last month to investor enthusiasm about its sales prospects after the company's March 17 announcement that it had received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its coronavirus test, the Lyra SARS-CoV-2 Assay. Shares popped 26.2% following this announcement. 

"Emergency Use Authorization for our Lyra SARS-CoV-2 Assay allows Quidel to join the global fight against the COVID-19 outbreak by providing healthcare workers in highly complex laboratories with a fast, accurate tool to diagnose patients infected with the novel coronavirus," CEO Douglas Bryant said in the press release. He went on to say that the company developed the assay in "mere weeks."

Then on March 26, Quidel announced that its coronavirus test had received the CE Mark, which opened the door to sales in Europe, as well as in other countries that accept the CE Mark, and that the company had received authorization from Health Canada to sell the test in Canada. Shares jumped 10.3%, which is four percentage points greater than the market's big gain that day.

Now what

No doubt, investors will get an update on how sales of the Lyra coronavirus test are going when Quidel reports its quarterly results. The company hasn't yet announced a date, but it should be sometime in early to mid May.

Beth McKenna has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Quidel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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