Retail investors on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum want to know if it’s too late to place a bet on Virgin Galactic. Shares of Richard Branson’s space travel company have skyrocketed by a double-digit percentage today to February highs after aviation regulators gave the go-ahead for commercial flights to space. The FAA’s approval comes on the heels of a successful test run last month.
Most investors on Reddit are kicking themselves for not jumping on this meme-stock bandwagon sooner. Others are reassuring one another, however, that there are likely more gains to come as Virgin Galactic begins scheduling flights. The company is planning more test flights for the summer months. After seemingly being stuck at the USD 53 level, shares have suddenly surpassed the USD 54 threshold, rising 34%. Volume is robust, with 199 million shares changing hands compared to an average of 20.4 million.
Race to Space
The expansion of Virgin Galactic’s operator license to include customers thrusts Branson into the center of a billionaire rivalry, with Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk similarly looking to be first-movers into the space tourism market. Bezos is looking to do so with his company, Blue Origin, while Musk is at the helm of SpaceX. All three of them have been investing heavily in their space companies, and the latest development is quite the coup for Branson.
Full Commercial Launch license ✅ Our recent #Unity21 spaceflight performed well against all flight objectives and marks the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers. Next up in our test program – a fully crewed spaceflight this Summer https://t.co/y0P69gofbK pic.twitter.com/fAUWxp8YNy
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) June 25, 2021
Virgin Galactic recently achieved meme-stock status due to a target on its back among short-sellers. The stock has short interest of 22.35% of its free float, according to financial analytics firm Ortex.
In recent weeks, short-sellers lost a combined sum of USD 3 billion after placing bets on a trio of meme stocks — AMC Entertainment, GameStop and Virgin Galactic, according to Ortex data. Options activity is high, with more than 930,000 contracts trading today at last check, three-quarters of which are bullish call options while the rest are bearish puts, as per Market Rebellion data.
The million-dollar question that investors want to know is whether Virgin Galactic will continue to rally on Monday. If the call volume in the stock is any indication, traders expect SPCE likely has some more runway for gains in the short-term, at least. The stock certainly has momentum on its side.