Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) were jumping 4.3% as of 11:10 a.m. EDT on Thursday, hitting another record high for the stock. The bump came after Michael Yee, an analyst at Jefferies, increased his price target on the stock from $170 to $250.
Also, Dr. Marco Cavaleri, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, stated in a press conference that a committee would likely finalize a decision on recommending authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in children by the end of next week.
Jefferies’ higher price target for the vaccine stock reflected expectations of increased sales for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine this year. Yee now looks for the company to up its full-year revenue guidance to $21 billion. It previously projected sales of $19.2 billion.
The EMA’s decision on authorization of the vaccine in immunizing children ages 12 to 17 could play a key role in driving higher sales. Although there are many more adults in the European Union than children, the pediatric market presents a big opportunity for the company.
Neither of these news items, however, were compelling reasons for Moderna’s shares to move higher. Jefferies’ price target is actually lower than its current share price. Also, Cavaleri’s comments about the pending decision by an expert committee didn’t provide any hints as to what the recommendation would be.
The most important thing to watch with Moderna in the near term isn’t the EMA committee announcement next week. Instead, it’s the company’s second-quarter update scheduled for Aug. 5. Moderna is likely to boost its full-year sales outlook in that update.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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