Space stocks fall back down to earth after going public - The Average Joe

    Space stocks fall back down to earth after going public

    Victor Lei — Head of Research

    August 26, 2021

    space stocks

    August 26, 2021

    Space stocks are hitting the market — but those looking for the next rocket might have to wait. Yesterday, Rocket Labs (NASDAQ:RKLB), the space launch company, debuted in the stock market — falling 10% on its first day.

    What’s the big deal? In the past year, space stocks had their star momentum, starting with Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space tourism company becoming a Reddit fave.

    But launch companies looking to become the Fedex of space are targeting a different customer group — helping commercial/government satellite operators send up satellites. But the industry is crowded with competitors:

    • Two other launch companies recently went public — Astra (NASDAQ:ASTR) and Momentus (NASDAQ:MTNS).
    • SpaceX, the dominant space company, is worth more than all other pure-play public space companies combined.

    Rocket projections: Many of these companies went public via SPACs — giving outlandish projections to attract investors.

    • But after going public, many revised their unrealistic forecasts downward — sending their stocks crashing.
    • RKLB had sales of $33m in 2020 but expects to hit $915m by 2027 — requiring growth of 60% each year.

    60% annual growth is steep considering uncertainty in the industry and RKLB’s volatile past.

    Investors jumped on Virgin Galactic’s stock right before test flights — with successful ones sending it soaring. Expecting a repeat of Virgin? Don’t count on it. In recent months:

    • Investors have been much less forgiving of speculative stocks with little sales to show for.
    • Investors moved their attention away from space stocks — which have trended lower.

    “Space” ETF: At least Cathie has more space stocks to put in ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (BATS:ARKX) now — aside from stocks like Netflix and Alibaba currently in the “space” ETF.

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