Vicarious Surgical is attempting to produce surgical robots. The idea is to combine VR with robotic arms so that remote surgery can be done and, perhaps, in the fullness of time, fully robotic or AI-driven work. This would, of course, be a game-changer if it actually happens.
Vicarious is also a recent arrival on the NYSE, coming to the market in a merger with a SPAC, D8 Holdings. There’s nothing very unusual today about a SPAC as the means to gain a market listing. But it does have, this route, certain attributes. One of which is that there hasn’t been the more traditional examination of the company that accompanies an IPO.
The effect of this is simply that less work has been done on what that Vicarious valuation should be. This is in part what is explaining the volatility of the stock. Vicarious is up 13% premarket this morning, it was up 10% yesterday and then faded back to much its starting point yesterday.
Ten and fifteen percentage points price movements, either way, is indeed volatility. The lesson to take from this being that the market in general hasn’t really made up its mind as yet.
So far there’s only been the one set of results – interims – since the SPAC merger completed and that was a miss against market expectations. BTIG Research has indicated a $15 target price for Vicarious, Piper Sandler $16. On the other hand Zachs has Vicarious rated as a sell, not even a hold.
So, the general opinion across the market is variable, which is what is driving the Vicarious stock price. It’s likely that these price movements will continue until general opinion settles on the one likely valuation of the company’s prospects as a whole. Quite when that will be is unknown of course but a stock price bouncing like a yo-yo is a trading opportunity all the same.
What will really matter though is what will that settled opinion be, It’s possible that investors in general will look at the difficulties of the project being undertaken – including those FDA approvals required and so on – and take fright. That would indicate a breakout to the downside. On the other hand, it’s possible that the evaluation of the technology will be done by proxy. If Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla believe in the base idea and team then who are we to disagree with them?
The real problem if problem it is, with Vicarious is simply the short period of time that we’ve all got information for. There’s not enough there to give a full view of what the future might hold. We might then expect that the volatility, within a range, will continue until a more settled and general opinion emerges.
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Tim Worstall is a freelance writer specialising in economics and the financial markets.