Why Virgin Galactic is More than Just a Space Play

Why there’s more to SPCE than space travel…

This story was originally published here.

In the space race, Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) is a contender, but recent lethargy suggests the company is more of a pretender. SPCE stock is down 1.73% over the past month, a period in which broader benchmarks and smaller companies – a relevant mention because of Virgin’s $3.12 billion market capitalization – are soaring.

A year-to-date return of nearly 33% is nothing to scoff at. However, Virgin Galactic traded above $42 in February. It closed just over $15 on June 16. Those are the type of declines that foster jitters among investors, particularly when the company in question operates in a nascent, niche industry where the payoff could be years away.

An obvious near-term headwind for Virgin Galactic is the recent success of SpaceX getting into space. SpaceX comes with the cache of being Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) founder Elon Musk’s baby.

With SpaceX not yet public, Virgin Galactic has the allure of being perhaps the only publicly traded pure space play, but there’s a brewing rivalry between these two firms investors need to be cognizant of.

Another recent hurdle on Virgin Galactic, though that one will dissipate, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group recently giving up majority control of the space exploration company because the bigger Virgin needs cash to keep more established business afloat. In this case, it’s just bad optics Branson is a billionaire and held in high esteem for his business acumen.

There’s Still a Story With SPCE Stock

An interesting factor to consider with Virgin Galactic is that the aforementioned selloff the stock endured during the Covid-19 swoon – one where the peak-to-trough decline was roughly 75% – was probably over-exaggerated.

Perhaps it sounds trite, but this company has barely anything in the way of sales. It has no leverage to areas of the economy that are most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus pandemic, such as airlines, casinos, cruise lines or retail sales. Heck, Virgin Galactic hasn’t even taken anyone to space yet, though it’s gotten crew members close.

Editor's Note: To read the full story, click here.

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