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Cathie Wood’s space exploration ETF sells almost all of its Virgin Galactic stock

SpaceShipTwo “Unity” on the runway after an aborted spaceflight test on Dec. 12, 2020.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic shares fell in trading Wednesday as it was revealed Ark Invest’s space exploration ETF sold nearly all of its remaining stake in the space tourism company.

Cathie Wood’s firm sold 293,962 shares of Virgin Galactic from its ARKX fund on Tuesday, a day that was marked by wild trading in the stock following the company’s first quarter results. Virgin Galactic shares plummeted 20% – below $15 a share – to begin trading on Tuesday, before slowly rallying throughout the day to finish just barely positive.

Shares of Virgin Galactic fell more than 10% in trading Wednesday from its previous close of $18.12. The firm declined CNBC’s request for comment on the Virgin Galactic trades.

The stock has lost about half its value since ARKX began trading in late March, when the fund debuted with a stake of about 672,000 shares of Virgin Galactic – a position worth about $20 million at the time. Virgin Galactic’s stock then began falling after delays to its test program and commercial flights, as well as share sales by chairman Chamath Palihapitiya and then founder Richard Branson.

Ark cut its ARKX holding of Virgin Galactic by nearly half on April 20, after the stock slipped below $23. Shares continued to fall earlier this month, after Jeff Bezos‘ venture Blue Origin announced plans to launch the first crewed flight of its space tourism rocket on July 20 – a move UBS warned likely removes Virgin Galactic’s first-mover advantage.

After Virgin Galactic reported first quarter results, putting in doubt the schedule, Ark cut ARKX’s position down to just 7,622 shares. It is now the smallest holding in the space ETF, with an 0.02% weight.

Ark Invest also sold shares of Virgin Galactic from its ARKQ “autonomous technology and robotics” fund in recent weeks, cutting its position from over 2 million shares in late April to just 7,879 shares as of Wednesday. Like ARKX, Virgin Galactic is also now the smallest holding in the ARKQ fund.

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