Shares of space company Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 4.48%) jumped as much as 5.8% on Friday after the company announced plans for a test flight and got an upgrade from an analyst. At 11:45 a.m. EDT shares were still up 2.8% for the day.
Yesterday, Virgin Galactic announced that it has planned a test flight for VSS Unity on Saturday, May 22, pending weather conditions. This flight was originally planned to be completed in December but after VSS Unity disconnected, the booster computer lost connection and Unity failed to reach space. That led to fixes to the spacecraft and a number of delays until this week.
Also helping Virgin Galactic shares today was UBS, which upgraded the stock to a buy rating, anticipating that three more test flights over the summer could help shares rise. Analyst upgrades can often move a stock in the short term, although they don't fundamentally change the company's operations.
There's a lot of speculation ahead of Saturday's planned flight and a lot is riding on its success. Right now, short-term traders are betting on the best for the flight but keep in mind that shares could drop if there's another malfunction. One way or another, Virgin Galactic is sure to be an exciting stock to follow over the next few months.