Vertical Research initiated coverage of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.
the space company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, with a buy rating on Tuesday, describing the stock as a “one-of-a-kind opportunity to invest in space tourism.” Analyst Darryl Genovesi set a $20 price target for the stock, or about double its current price, arguing that the market is pricing in more risk than needed. “SPCE is the only means by which a public equity investor may gain pure-play exposure to human spaceflight, a socially-important endeavour, and the only means by which a public equity investor may gain ANY exposure to space tourism, creating scarcity value that we think can drive the stock higher as the risk-profile becomes better understood,” the analyst wrote in a note to clients. The stock further offers the chance to invest in the high net worth consumer segment, which is growing fast, and a pioneering technology that resonates with the trend toward experiences over possessions, he wrote. For now, the stock is being held back by technical concerns — fears the company has a high risk of failure — but Genovesi believes it’s overdone. “We think SPCE’s mission profile is very similar to X-15’s, which crashed only once in more (199) tries (Pcrash ~0.5%) and that was 50 YEARS AGO, meaning SPCE can likely do better,” he wrote. The stock was down 5% on Tuesday, while the S&P 500
was down 0.1%. It started trading on Oct. 25, after merging with a blank-check company.
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