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Why Astra Space Stock Is Rocketing Higher Today

By Lou Whiteman – Oct 12, 2021 at 3:21PM

Key Points

  • Astra's shares have languished during its brief time as a public company, in part due to a series of failed test launches.
  • Deutsche Bank just made Astra a catalyst call.
  • The company still faces long-term challenges.

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A Wall Street analyst anticipates that sentiment around the company will shift in a positive direction.

What happened

Shares of Astra Space (ASTR -6.66%) were trading more than 10% higher on Tuesday afternoon after the stock was named a short-term catalyst buy by a Wall Street analyst.

So what

Astra went public this summer via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and the stock has mostly lost altitude in the months since, weighed down by the company's inability to get its test rockets into space. The shares were still down by more than 30% from their debut price even after Tuesday's gains.

A rocket blast off at night.

Image source: Getty Images.

But Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu believes the narrative around the stock will improve in the next few weeks. On Tuesday, Yu placed a short-term buy rating on the stock, arguing that the declines have created a "compelling" risk/reward proposition for the shares ahead of some potentially positive events. The analyst kept his $13 price target on the shares, which is more than 50% above its current price.

Yu predicted Astra would provide details on why its late-August launch attempt failed, and update its timeline. The company did just that on Tuesday, explaining what went wrong last time, and saying that it could try to launch again as soon as the end of October.

ASTR Chart

ASTR data by YCharts

Now what

Yu could be correct that the stock will move higher in the weeks to come, but for investors with longer time horizons, there are still reasons for caution. To be fair to Astra, space is hard and test failures are to be expected. But even after its share declines, it's still valued at more than $2 billion, a rich price for a company that so far is just in the testing phase.

Even if Astra gets its rockets running, the company faces stiff competition from the likes of Rocket Lab USA, the soon-to-be-public Virgin Orbit, and others, which could crimp its pricing power. That remains a long-term risk. For those with a time horizon of more than a few weeks, Astra remains a "show me" story, and investors should be careful about buying in.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Astra Space Stock Quote
Astra Space
$0.50 (-6.66%) $0.04

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