Moderna, BioNTech Post Worst Day for Vaccine Stocks in a Month

Moderna Inc. and BioNTech SE both fell more than 9% in heavy volume as the vaccine makers saw their worst day in the stock market since late November.

The leading U.S. Covid-19 vaccine makers sank on Tuesday as Moderna slumped 11% and BioNTech fell almost 10%. Those declines together with Pfizer Inc.‘s 1.7% drop, erased a combined $10 billion of market value.

Biotech shares, which have been popular among retail traders, are some of the most volatile stocks in the market and the two vaccine makers have been no exception — the average daily price swings for both stocks were more than 3 times the broader market’s.

The declines came after health officials said the new Covid-19 variant that emerged in the U.K. could possibly already be in the U.S., Germany, France and Switzerland. So far, there has been no indication the companies’ shots won’t work against the evolving strain. BioNTech says its vaccine will likely be effective in inoculating against the new virus strain discovered in Britain, tests against the new variant should take about two weeks. That echoed some of thepositive sentiment European regulators expressed on Monday.

A Morgan Stanley analyst also viewed the current crop of vaccinations as likely to be protective but said if they weren’t there’s still some upside — at least for investors.

“If current vaccines are not protective, it would be a severe setback for society but extend durability of vaccine manufacturer sales,” David Risinger, an analyst at Morgan Stanley wrote in a client note. He added that the vaccines were likely to be effective against a new strain.

Individual investors this year have helped bolster the biotech companies chasing after Covid-19 products, though interest waned upon commercialization. Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer have each traded off their highs since their vaccines received regulatory clearance.

Tuesday’s slide puts a small dent in a rally that has pushed Moderna’s shares to jump more than sixfold so far this year while BioNTech has nearly tripled in value.

— With assistance by Brandon Kochkodin, and Divya Balji

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