Why Pfizer shares rise today as Moderna and Novavax slide


What happened

Shares of Pfizer (DFP 2.42%) were up 2.5% as of 11:35 a.m. ET on Friday after jumping 4% earlier in the day. Meanwhile, stocks at two other COVID-19 vaccine makers were down. Modernit is (ARNM -4.11%) shares fell 4.7%. Novavax (NVAX -7.90%) the action fell 7.9%.

Why was Pfizer rising while Moderna and Novavax were slipping? Although they are all vaccine stocks, they each have very different dynamics that impact their stock price.

Pfizer is still basking somewhat in the light of Tuesday’s good news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for booster doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.

Neither Moderna nor Novavax benefited from positive catalysts this week. As the overall stock market slides again, both stocks appear to be caught in the downtrend. Novavax tends to fare worse on such drops than Moderna. This is mainly due to the greater uncertainties the company faces with its COVID-19 vaccine.

So what

Investors probably shouldn’t read too much into today’s moves for any of these stocks. This is particularly the case for Moderna and Novavax. The outlook for both companies is no worse (and no better) now than it was earlier this week.

Even the good news from Pfizer is nothing to get excited about. The EUA for boosters in young children is unlikely to result in additional orders for doses of the company’s vaccine in the near term.

More than 8 million children ages 5 to 11 in the United States have received the first two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, even if everyone now receives a booster dose, Pfizer is unlikely to get any new orders. The US government has already entered into a supply agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 600 million doses, but has only delivered about 433 million doses of the two companies’ vaccine.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Novavax probably has the highest short-term upside potential among these three stocks. The FDA has scheduled an advisory committee meeting on June 7 to review the company’s EUA filing for its COVID-19 vaccine.

It seems likely that Novavax’s stock will bust if the advisory board gives its blessing and the FDA gives its clearance. The chances of this positive scenario coming to fruition seem pretty good at this point.

Moderna hopes to soon receive EUA from the United States for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6-11. The company also plans to report initial data in June for its bivalent COVID-19 vaccine candidate that combines its already approved mRNA. 1273 vaccine and a version targeting the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Pfizer will closely monitor FDA approval on biological havenregulatory filing for zavegepant, a migraine medication. The major drugmaker announced earlier this month that it planned to acquire Biohaven for $11.6 billion. The transaction is expected to be finalized in early 2023.