Aside from World War 1 and World War 2, 2020 was among the most interesting years in the past century. This is not to say that it was the worst as indeed, humanity faced many difficulties since then but for the newer generations, the Covid-19 pandemic presented a challenge that not only changed the world for now but also how we perceive and live our lives for years ahead.
How it all started
The first cases of Covid-19 were detected in China in late 2019 and by the end of the first quarter of 2020, the pandemic was across every corner of the earth except for the most remote and lightly inhabited locations. Fast forward a few months and cases remain elevated, the death toll barely manageable and society adjusting to a new reality of social distancing and face masks.
As countries rushed to find solutions that would return overall conditions to normalcy, pharmaceutical companies were racing against the clock to produce a vaccine that would usually take years of studies and trials before it became available to the masses. The bright side: a multitude of firms produced highly effective vaccines against Covid-19 that are currently being administered across the entire world.
The names behind the vaccines
Different companies stepped up to the challenge. Among the top names was the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership. This created the first vaccine in the world and the company administered the first dose in December 2020. Moderna also developed a vaccine and was among the early adopters in terms of delivering doses. Oxford and AstraZeneca partnered together for a vaccine that does not require sub-zero storage conditions while Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine should roll out in large numbers given the company’s strong manufacturing capabilities.In parallel, Sinovac and Sinopharm, two Chinese vaccines that have proved slightly less effective than their western counterparts are also being rolled out and adopted by many countries as measures to supply humanity with enough doses remain a priority for most.
A new spotlight on pharmaceutical stocks
It’s safe to assume that the different vaccines that have been developed managed to provide a stock price and financial boost to the different companies behind them. Nonetheless, hurdles have presented themselves and will continue to do so as more and more doses are administered. Looking into the Pfizer stock, the company experienced a boost in the price towards the end of 2020 yet since then, the company returned to more average levels as the hype fades.
A more positive outcome was for the Moderna stock which saw a breakout above $100 in early December and has since trended higher towards the $150 range. Given the stock price action, more upside is likely over the long run. This was also the case for Johnson and Johnson while AstraZeneca dipped more than 15% over the past 6 months, despite the rollout of their vaccine. Lastly, Sinopharm’s stock managed to break higher but posted no significant gains as it lagged in terms of effectiveness.
Trading opportunities with a hint of uncertainty
Stocks of vaccine providers did indeed grab headlines while benefiting from a boost in demand and attention yet the future carries moderate uncertainty. Billions of doses are expected throughout 2021 but potential health hazards and the fact that more and more companies are coming on board the vaccine development train could hinder stock prices from reaching full potential.Despite what the future holds, opportunities are on the rise and for different traders, unclear trends could mean short-term possibilities built around momentum and events..
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