It’s not shaping up to be a good week for stocks from major manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines. Several stocks slipped on Monday. The downtrend continued today.
Actions of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) were down 1.6% as of 11:27 a.m. BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) the stock had fallen 9.4%. Modern‘s (NASDAQ: mRNA) stocks were down 6.2%. Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was a big loser, with its shares falling 11.6%.
The reductions in these vaccine stocks came despite good news for several of them. Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted initial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from an advanced stage study of their COVID-19 vaccine in children under 12 up to 5 years of age. Indian regulators have also authorized the Serum Institute of India to begin enrolling children aged 7 to 11 in a clinical trial evaluating Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.
So why are stocks falling today? This is probably because investors are increasingly worried about the sales prospects of COVID-19 vaccines. The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna recently predicted that the pandemic could end in 2022.
Additionally, Pfizer announced Monday that it has started testing a pill that could be used to prevent infection after exposure to another person with COVID-19. If Pfizer’s oral medicine or similar antiviral therapies become available, it could reduce the incentive for people to get the vaccine.
Investors should definitely look to the future to assess the outlook for vaccine stocks. And there is uncertainty as to whether COVID-19 vaccine sales will remain as strong as they are now in 2023 and beyond.
It’s no surprise that Pfizer shares haven’t fallen as much as shares of BioNTech, Moderna or Novavax. The big drugmaker isn’t totally dependent on its COVID-19 vaccine, as BioNTech and Moderna are – and Novavax potentially will be soon.
However, there is still the possibility that emerging variants of the coronavirus could keep demand for COVID-19 vaccines strong for years to come. Today’s liquidation could prove to be unjustified.
Each of these titles has key catalysts on the way. Pfizer and BioNTech hope to file an emergency use authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine in the immunization of young children soon. Moderna is awaiting a decision on the booster doses. Novavax hopes to win the World Health Organization’s emergency use list for its COVID-19 vaccine and plans to apply for EUA in several countries.
As long as uncertainty over future demand for COVID-19 vaccines persists, look for continued volatility with all of these stocks.
This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are motley! Challenging an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.