Virgin Galactic Stock Skyrockets As Investors Buy Into The Billionaire Space Race
Topline: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE) stock has continued to rally in recent weeks, gaining almost 200% this year alone as investors flock to buy shares of the space tourism company, which is competing with the likes of Elon Musk's Space X and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.
- Virgin Galactic shares are up 14% in pre-market trading on Wednesday, after surging up to 24% on Tuesday. The stock has now skyrocketed over 300% since last December, and over 200% since going public last October.
- According to data from online brokerage Fidelity, it was the third-most traded stock on its platform in recent sessions-trailing only Apple and Tesla, with some 70% of retail investors buying rather than selling shares, Reuters reported.
- While Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is in the midst of a billionaire space race with Elon Musk's Space X and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, it is the only one of the three that is publicly listed and available to retail investors.
- Shares have continued to surge recently, amid optimism about Virgin Galactic's plans to launch a commercial space service to bring tourists into space: The company announced last week that it had relocated its SpaceShipTwo suborbital place to its commercial headquarters in New Mexico for final stages of test flights.
- The stock has been in high demand among retail investors rushing to buy into the emerging business of commercial space travel, even though Virgin Galactic is still expected to be unprofitable for the next two years.
- While many analysts like the space tourism company's long term prospects, they warn that the stock has become overbought, with a median price target of $19 per share compared to Wednesday's price of $30, according to Reuters.
Big numbers: UBS estimates that the commercial space travel business will become a $3 billion industry by 2030. Virgin Galactic has some 600 reservations and $80 million in deposits for flights, which are priced at $250,000 per ticket.
Key background: As Space X and Blue Origin are not yet publicly traded companies, Virgin Galactic is the only option for retail investors looking to buy into commercial space travel. If the stock continues to skyrocket as it has been recently, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos could escalate the billionaire space race by taking their respective companies public.
What to watch for: Virgin Galactic's first quarterly financial report since going public. The company is set to release fourth quarter results for fiscal 2019 after the market closes on February 25.
Tangent: Richard Branson has a net worth of $4 billion, according to Forbes' estimates. Bezos, the world's richest person, is worth $131.1 billion, while Elon Musk has a net worth of $41.2 billion.
I am a New York-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news, with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I wrote about investing for Money Magazine and was an in
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