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Why Virgin Galactic Shares Plunged 15.9% in February

By Travis Hoium - Mar 2, 2021 at 5:33PM

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Delays weren't what investors wanted to see.

What happened 

Shares of space tourism company Virgin Galactic (SPCE -5.33%) dropped 15.9% in February, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, and the losses didn't stop there. In the first two days of trading in March, shares are down another 9.3%. 

So what 

The biggest news of the month came during Virgin Galactic's earnings call with investors. It wasn't surprising that revenue was zero for the fourth quarter of 2020 or that the company lost $74.1 million ($0.31 per share). What was surprising was a delay in the company's next test flight until May at the earliest.

Virgin Galactic's Mach 3 aircraft concept drawing.

A concept drawing of Virgin Galactic's Mach 3 passenger plane. Image source: Virgin Galactic.

This delay will put Virgin Galactic months behind schedule in launching space flights for paying customers. And delays aren't generally something the market is excited about from a growth stock that promises to charge as much as $250,000 for a single flight. 

Now what 

Is now the time to panic if you're a Virgin Galactic investor? If you believe in the future of space tourism and the long-term growth opportunities Virgin Galactic has in high-speed travel, the answer is no. 

A few delays don't change the prospects of the company and may actually put customers at ease that management is putting safety first. As a growth stock with zero real operating metrics to value the company, Virgin Galactic is going to be a volatile stock, and recently that volatility has sent shares lower. But next month could easily reverse that momentum. 

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