Vaccine Stocks: Are Pfizer, Moderna and J&J Buys Right Now?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (11554233a)In this photo illustration, vials seen displayed in front of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States and Moderna biotechnology company's logos.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock / Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

If you’re looking to expand or diversify your portfolio, you may be eyeing vaccine stocks closely. Moderna (MRNA), Pfizer (PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (BNTX) have proven COVID-19 vaccines on the market right now. In fact, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55.7% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 48.3% of the population is fully vaccinated as of mid-July 2021.

No doubt, the successful vaccines gave a boost to these businesses. But are the stocks still a buy, or did you miss the boat by not investing back in March 2020, when the global coronavirus pandemic began and these companies began early research to be the first to market with safe and effective vaccines?

Vaccine Stock Time Machine: Where Would You Be Now?

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, so to speak. But you may have experienced serious fear of missing out if you didn’t buy into vaccine stocks in mid-2020. Let’s look at what you really passed up.

Johnson & Johnson

On April 1, 2020, Johnson & Johnson stock was trading for $150 per share. In mid-July 2021, it’s up to $169, which is close to its 52-week high of $173.65. However, timing the market is everything, and had you invested in October 2020, you could have picked up shares for just $137 each.

Building Wealth

Let’s say you did buy low and sold today — had you invested $1,000, you’d be holding $1,267.51, plus earning dividends on the stock, which the other two vaccine stocks do not offer at this time.

Moderna

If you were looking to make money over the past year, however, Moderna may have been a better option than J&J. A relative unknown in the pharmaceutical space pre-pandemic, Moderna stock virtually skyrocketed from $45.99 per share on April 1, 2020, to $236.44 in mid-July 2021, which is close to the one-year high of $245.70. If you had an actual time machine and bought in pre-pandemic on March 1, 2020, you’d have paid $29.95 per share and could have converted a $1,000 investment into $7,802.52 today.

Pfizer

If you had passed on Pfizer last April, you may have fewer regrets. The stock has only risen a bit more than $3 since April 1, 2020, when shares were trading for $36.39. In mid-July 2021, shares are worth $39.73. In the past year, the stock has ranged from just under $33 up to just over $43. If you invested $1,000 last April, you’d now be holding just $1,091.78.

However, continuing to hold on to that Pfizer could be a smart money move, experts say. Investor’s Business Daily pointed out that the stock is “staring down the barrel of a new buy point out of a second cup-with-handle base,” and has “raised its full-year outlook.”

Of the three companies, Pfizer recently announced it is “planning to tackle the delta variant [of COVID-19] with a specific COVID vaccine,” IBD reported, and is also looking toward securing full approval, which means Pfizer and its partner BioNTech could distribute their COVID-19 vaccines even after the formal end of the pandemic. These factors could bode well for 2021 revenue and stock prices.

Vaccine Stocks and Current News

You might be shying away from J&J stock right now, if you’ve read the recent reports of a possible increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome from the J&J vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated the warning label on the J&J jab to warn of an “observed increased risk” of the rare neurological complication, CNN reported.

Although both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that it’s still better to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, Johnson & Johnson stock dipped with the news.

Building Wealth

Meanwhile, Pfizer and Moderna stocks also dipped this week. The companies are pushing for emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 booster shots, but both the FDA and CDC kiboshed it quickly, The Motley Fool reported.

The CDC and FDA issued a joint statement saying that “Americans who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.” The organizations also said they are continuing to review data to see if booster doses may be needed in the future,” the Fool reported. Booster doses, of course, would be good for Pfizer and Moderna stock prices.

Exploring the Fundamentals

It’s one thing, however, to look back and regret day-trading missed opportunities or rue the daily fluctuations of the stock market. But if you’re really in the long game for secure and profitable investments, it’s important to explore each company’s fundamentals.

After all, COVID-19 vaccines, however important they might be for our world’s future, represent just a portion of these brands’ offerings.

Pfizer

IBD pointed out that Pfizer’s stock sits below its buy point right now. It also has a weak relative strength rating of 40 out of 99, according to IBD. If you have shares, it might be best to hold on to them, but IBD recommends waiting to invest until shares reach the buy point of $41.19.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, in spite of recent woes could represent a solid long-term investment. The beauty of J&J stock, despite the volatility of the market, is its long-term reputation, diversified product lines including health and beauty care, and its quarterly dividend payments, which deliver $1.01 per share, for an annual yield of 2.7%. That is 0.7% above the S&P 500 average, according to The Motley Fool.

The company also recently entered into a 10-year virtual power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power, Dow Jones Newswires reported. J&J’s European headquarters will be run by 100% renewable electricity by 2023, which also bodes well for investors looking for a stock that supports sustainability.

Moderna

Moderna stock continues to rise as the company’s received emergency authorization in India to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine and, additionally, signed a supply agreement with Argentina for 20 million doses, IBD reported.

IBD gave the stock a relative strength rating of 97 out of 99, putting it well ahead of competitors J&J and Pfizer as a solid investment. Right now, shares are about 26% above their buy point, so experts say it’s a stock to watch right now.

Takeaway

While the fundamentals of these vaccine stocks look strong, they should make up just a portion of a well-diversified portfolio. For long-term investments, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds provide more stability and less risk.

If you’re looking for stable, long-term, profitable investments, leave the day trading to the professional day traders and focus on strong companies that have exhibited steady and consistent growth. Better yet, bank on the stability of ETFs and mutual funds for more consistent returns.

Data is accurate as of July 13, 2021, and subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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