2 months Virgin Galactic Is Downgraded to Sell. It Can’t Make Money if It Can’t Launch Its Spaceships Reddit    

https://www.barrons.com/articles/virgin-galactic-stock-downgraded-delay-51634562346

(PAYWALL)

Space tourism is a brand-new industry, so growing pains might be expected, but the latest setback at Virgin Galactic(SPCE) is causing trouble for investors.

Monday, UBS analyst Myles Walton downgraded Virgin Galactic(SPCE) to Sell from Hold, lowering his target for the stock price to $15 from $26.

Flight delays are the big problem. On Friday, Galactic said it was halting flight tests for about nine months while the company entered a period of " vehicle enhancement and modification" — design changes to improve its spaceships.

The news was a disappointment for investors who had expected commercial, revenue-generating, operations to start early in 2022. Galactic stock dropped almost 17% on Friday, falling to $20.01 a share. Shares were down another 2.9% in premarket trading Monday, after the downgrade.

Galactic has hit a rough patch after a strong run. Shares rose almost 94% in the month before the Galactic flight that took Sir Richard Branson into space–the first space tourism flight ever completed–on June 12. Shares continued to rise in the following weeks, hitting $57.51 on June 28, but they are down about 64% since then.

The next point to watch is the company's third-quarter earnings conference call, slated for early November. Investors will want some answers about the spaceship redesign, as well as ticket sales.

Strong sales could be good news for the stock, but Walton doesn't believe that would be enough to lift the shares out of their recent funk. With the downgrade, three of 11 analysts tracking Galactic, or 27%, rate shares at Sell.

The average Sell-rating ratio for stocks in the S&P 500 is below 10%. The average analyst price target is about $31 a share, implying gains of about 50% from recent levels, but that $31 is down from a July peak of about $39.

Four analysts, or 36%, rate the stock at Buy, while the remaining four have it at Hold.

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