Surprise Quarterly Profit Sends Moderna Stock Surging

Technical underperformance isn't deterring options bulls

Digital Content Manager
Feb 22, 2024 at 10:44 AM
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Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) reported a surprise profit for the fourth quarter earlier, with revenue also surpassing estimates despite slower Covid-19 vaccine sales. In addition, the company announced plans to launch its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot, which is expected to generate $280 million, in both Germany and Australia in 2024. 

MRNA was last seen up 7.8% at $94.43, but is still wrestling overhead pressure from the 20-day moving average, which has been in place since mid-January. In the last year, the equity shed 40.3%.

This technical underperformance isn't deterring options bulls, with 21,000 calls and 14,000 puts traded so far -- overall volume that is five times the intraday average. The weekly 2/23 95-strike call is by far the most popular contract, with new positions being bought to open there.

This denotes a shift in sentiment, as short-term options traders lean bearish. This is per MRNA's s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.07 that stands in the 92nd percentile of readings from the last 12 months.  A further unwinding of pessimism could create additional tailwinds for the security.

Analysts are yet to chime in, but 10 of the 19 in coverage still call the equity a tepid "hold" or worse. Plus, the 20.88 million share sold short still make up 6.1% of Moderna stock's available float.


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