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Cathie Wood’s space exploration ETF sells its last few shares of Virgin Galactic

VSS Unity floats in microgravity at the edge of space during its third spaceflight on May 22, 2021.

Virgin Galactic

Ark Invest’s space exploration ETF has sold its last remaining shares of Virgin Galactic, completing its move away from one of the few publicly traded pure-play space stocks.

Cathie Wood’s firm on Tuesday sold 12 shares of Virgin Galactic from its ARKX fund, the tiny remaining piece of a position that was about 672,000 shares when the ETF first began trading in late March.

The space tourism company’s stock climbed as much as 6% in trading from its previous close of $25.59 a share.

After hitting an all-time high above $60 a share in February, the stock began falling in the wake of 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.

Wood’s firm unloaded almost all of the ETF’s remaining stake in early May, when the stock traded down near $15 a share. In all, the stock lost about half its value from ARKX’s debut to when the fund sold most of its position.

Virgin Galactic’s stock has had a resurgence, however, after the company’s long delayed third spaceflight test flew successfully on Saturday. The stock erased a 30% loss year to date and now trades back above $26 a share.

Additionally, Canaccord Genuity initiated coverage of Virgin Galactic on Wednesday with a buy rating, seeing the recent spaceflight test as likely the first in a series of positive catalysts.

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