Moderna Stock Is Surging. China Would Be a Big Market.

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Moderna stock has gotten a boost from the CEO’s comments about China.

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Moderna ’s Covid-19 vaccine has been wildly successful, but its stock has been stagnant as investors ponder where the next leg of growth could come from. Now, shares are soaring on the possibility that China is interested in buying Moderna’s vaccine.

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told Reuters that the company had been in talks with China to provide Covid-19 vaccines to that nation, though no agreement had been reached. The weak vaccines have been seen as one possible reason for the lockdowns that continue to hamper China’s economy.

Such a deal would be a boon for Moderna. After dropping 68% over the past year, the stock trades at just 10.1 times 12-month forward earnings estimates, below the S&P 500’s 16.7 times, a sign that investors are concerned about future profit growth. Moderna would like investors to consider what comes after Covid, such as possible mRNA vaccines for the flu and other illnesses. But having a new stream of revenue from China would go a long way to creating a bridge until that happens.

Moderna stock has gained 6.5% at 11:39 a.m. on Wednesday, making it the third-best performer in the S&P 500, which has risen 0.4%.

Write to Ben Levisohn at ben.levisohn@barrons.com

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