Virgin Galactic Stock Pops, Then Deflates

Credit: Kiplinger

Virgin Galactic’s first week as the world’s first publicly traded space tourism company turned out to be roller coaster ride — almost entirely in the downward direction.

After Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, the stock rose from an opening of $12.34 to a high of $12.90.

The stock then began a long slide. By market close on Friday, it had fallen to $9.64, and then to $9.55 in after-market trading. That represents a 22.6 percent decline from the value of the stock when it opened on Monday.

Virgin Galactic went public after merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, an investment company that was already publicly traded. Monday was the first day the stock traded under the Virgin Galactic name and its new symbol, SPCE.

Branson’s company went public even though its main business has yet to take off. Virgin Galactic has yet to fly a single tourist to space in the 15 years since the British billionaire announced the development of the vehicle that will take them there, SpaceShipTwo. Flights are expected no earlier than June 2020.

The air-launched rocket-glider has flown two suborbital test flights. One of those launches featured a third crew member in addition to the two pilots who evaluated the passenger experience in the cabin.