Investment Opportunities

How the “Next Great Electric Automaker” Ran Out of Gas

On June 16, I urged you to steer clear of electric heavy-duty truck maker Nikola Corp. (Nasdaq: NKLA).

Since then, Nikola’s stock price has struggled… to say the least.

Nikola Takes a Tumble

In fact, in just over three months, Nikola’s share price is down more than 65%.

My reasoning for steering clear back in June was pretty simple. Nikola’s stock market valuation back then was based solely on hype and not on the fundamental prospects of the underlying business.

Here is what I said on June 16:

Investors buying shares of Nikola today at this lofty $30 billion-plus valuation get a company that generates exactly the following:

  • $0 in revenue
  • $0 in profits
  • $0 in cash flow.

The company has not booked a single dollar in revenue.

According to the company’s own projections, it doesn’t expect to earn its first revenue until 2023. Its $30 billion-plus valuation is based only on birds that might be in the bush.

For perspective, consider that the other big automakers all generate more than $100 billion in sales annually. They have birds in hand.

It was very clear to me that Nikola was all story and little substance.

The way Nikola played out over the past several months is like a stock market movie I’ve seen many times before.

Eventually, the stock market demands that even story stocks actually do something – and produce real, measurable business results.

If a company can’t deliver, the downside is huge.

With no cash flow, earnings or asset value to underpin its valuation, a story stock can fall very far and very fast. For story stocks like Nikola, the hype almost always eventually runs out.

Nikola’s Accelerating Stock Market Fall

Nikola’s fall from grace – which started back in June – has accelerated over the past couple of weeks.

For shareholders, the news flow has been fast, furious and concerning.

And it all started with allegations that suggested that many of Nikola’s claims were based on lies made by the chairman of the company, Trevor Milton.

Nikola denied those allegations initially…

Then, just days later, Nikola announced that Milton was resigning.

The sudden resignation confirmed for the market that at least some of the allegations were true. Investors reacted as you would expect, sending Nikola’s share price down 20% in one day.

Many observers also believe that a key partnership Nikola recently signed with General Motors (NYSE: GM) is in jeopardy.

Even with shares down by more than 60% from where they were when I first warned about Nikola back in June, I don’t have any interest in owning this stock.

Nikola still doesn’t have any revenue, earnings or cash flow. And it doesn’t even have a story anymore.

There Are Other Stocks to Avoid Today

It has been a long time since there have been so many overvalued stocks in the market.

For investors, avoiding mistakes – including investing in massively overvalued stocks – is every bit as important as finding the right stocks to buy.

Next time you hear from me, I’ll show you another high-flying stock that is ripe for a fall.

Until then…

Good investing,

Jody


About

Jody Chudley is a Contributing Analyst to Wealthy Retirement. He is a qualified accountant with two decades of experience in the international banking and hedge fund industries as a financial analyst.
His background in finance has made him an expert in deciphering financial statements and uncovering deep value and income opportunities. He has written for various websites and financial magazines with a focus on the resource sector and contrarian investment opportunities.

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