Why Moderna and Pfizer Lagged the Market Today

What happened

Modern (MRNA -2.25%) spirit Pfizer (PFE 0.59%)for many the top two coronavirus stocks on the market, were both eclipsed by the S&P 500 index on Thursday. Moderna suffered a more than 2% decline, and Pfizer inched up only 0.6%, against the index’s nearly 2% gain on the day. The culprit was discouraging news from Moderna.

So what

Before market opens on Thursday, Moderna announced that it had agreed with the European Commission (EC) to amend the delivery schedules for booster doses of Spikevax, its coronavirus vaccine.

Image source: Getty Images.

The EC is the executive body of the 27-member European Union (EU). The amended agreement allows each EU member to receive the contracted booster doses later in 2022, or early in 2023. These were originally contracted for delivery in the second quarter of this year.

Although Moderna said in its announcement that it continues to anticipate $ 21 billion in advance purchase agreements for this year, investors are clearly taking the news as a sign that demand for COVID jabs might be weakening.

Now what

That would explain the similarly tepid reaction with Pfizer shares.

The sprawling American pharmaceutical company has not mentioned anything in recent days about its current arrangement with the EU. However, if the economic bloc is putting the brakes on Moderna’s vaccine supply, it’s very possible it’ll make a comparable arrangement with Comirnaty, the shot co-developed by Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech.

Fellow coronavirus vaccine developer Novavax (NVAX 4.34%) did not suffer the same fate as Moderna and Pfizer. Its shares rose by more than 4% on Thursday.

The company had more-positive news to report. It announced that it has submitted a request to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to expand the conditional marketing authorization for its NVX-CoV2373 coronavirus vaccine to cover booster doses for adults. Novavax’s jab was first authorized for use by the agency in February.

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