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Virgin Galactic Dives on Flight Uncertainty and First-Quarter Loss

Virgin Galactic reports a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss and says it hasn’t yet set a date for its next test flight.
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Virgin Galactic  (SPCE) - Get Report shares plunged Tuesday after the space-tourism company reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss and said it hasn’t yet set a date for its next test flight.

The flight was previously planned for this month.

Virgin Galactic traded at $14.22, down 20.87% in premarket trading Tuesday. It has plummeted 66% in the last three months amid doubts about Virgin Galactic's performance.

For the first quarter, Virgin Galactic posted a net loss of $130 million, or 55 cents a share, narrowing from a net loss of $377 million, or $1.86 a share, last year. The FactSet analyst consensus called for a loss of 28 cents in the latest quarter.

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Pandemic-related delays continue to hamper its operations, Virgin Galactic said.

As for the uncertainty surrounding the test flight, it results from “a potential wear-and-tear issue” discovered last week on VMS Eve, the aircraft that carries its spacecraft before launch, said Mike Moses, Virgin Galactic’s president of space missions and safety, on the company’s earnings call, CNBC reported.

“We will report back to the market next week with an update on schedule implications to our next flight,” he said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas has an equal weight rating on Virgin Galactic with a $30 price target. Virgin Galactic has strong potential, but “space is hard”-type realities, such as the delayed testing program, create obstacles, he said, according to Bloomberg.

Substantial selling by star money manager Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management took a toll on Virgin Galactic shares last month.

Virgin Galactic's founder and part owner Richard Branson also unloaded shares of the company in April.

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