EV stocks: legacy marques hit the electric accelerator

Equities

Tesla might be the face of electric vehicles, but long-standing manufacturers are matching its spending. Here are some EV stocks to watch.

EV stocks

2021 & electric vehicles

Electric vehicles really do look like the future.

Sales volume tripled year-on-year in H1, according to Woods Mackenzie research. WoodMac predicts 6 million electrically-powered vehicles will be sold by the end of 2021. That’s even with chipset supply constraints.

No year to date will have seen such internal combustion engine sales displacement should WoodMac’s forecast prove true.

We all know of Tesla’s electric vehicle market dominance. Many newcomers in the EV space are in danger of being left in Tesla’s shadow. While the likes of NIO and Li Automotive are attempting to put up a fight, as new brands go Tesla is driving far into the distance.

But what about legacy carmakers? These, in theory, have the supply chain capability, resources and existing market presence to potentially dwarf Tesla going forward. It’s only a matter of time before the sleeping or drowsy giants wake up and put their full industrial might behind EVs.

We’ve already seen the likes of Citroen and Volvo spin off their electric offer into new brands (DS and Polestar in this instance). Indeed, Polestar looks like it’s becoming very much its own entity and is even planning a $20bn SPAC IPO sometime soon.

Even Ferrari, which has resisted the call of pure electric power, for so long is following in the wake of luxury automakers Porsche and Aston Martin in offering a fully EV supercar by 2025.

But not all car manufacturers are created equal. There are those that dominate with their major global presence. These are the ones responsible for the global prevalence of motor vehicles to begin with. And it’s these that have enormous potential.

The largest automakers and conglomerates are pouring billions into electric vehicle research. Some are better prepared than others, but this level of investment can pay dividends in terms of positive stock price movements.

Traders and investors thinking about diversifying their portfolios with EV stocks may find some inspiration below.

Legacy EV stocks to watch

Ford

Henry Ford pioneered mass auto manufacturing as we know it. Now the company he started is keen to add his level of ingenuity to their model line-up.

Ford recently announced it was planning on spending $30bn on EV R&D by 2025 and expected 40% of its total sales to come from this market segment by 2030. Its goal is to launch 16 fully electric vehicles by 2022.

Pre-orders for the electric F-150, the truck that the company is essentially built on, have already reached 150,000. Oh, it also has plans afoot to invest $11.5bn in a battery-making facility to support the F-150 exclusively.

F-150 sales average 100 trucks sold per hour. Mr Musk with your Tesla Cybertruck: Ford is coming for you.

In terms of share price performance, Ford is up nearly 2% in day trading at the time of writing.

As well as its electric plans, Ford has been boosted across the previous months by its Q2 2021 earnings. During this time, the brand recorded a surprising $1.1bn profit, readjusting its earnings per share from a loss of $0.03 per share up to EPS of $0.13.

Ford raised its expectation for full-year adjusted earnings before taxes by about $3.5 billion, to between $9 billion and $10 billion.

Additionally, since CEO Jim Farley took control in October 2020, Ford’s share price has soared 113%.

General Motors

According to its website, General Motors plans to invest $35bn between now and 2025 towards creating a fully electric future.

With this 30% rise in dedicated electric vehicle spending, the US’ number one carmaker certainly has Tesla and other rivals squarely in its crosshairs.

In practical terms, this means a complete model overhaul and construction of dedicated production facilities. That includes two new battery megafactories. One of these is already underway in partnership with Korea’s LG Energy Solutions, while another site is being prepped in Tennessee.

GM confirmed in November it would speed up the rollout of new EVs, with plans to offer 30 models globally by 2025, up from a prior target of 20 by 2023. Chief Executive Mary Barra said the automaker wants to exceed annual sales of 1 million EVs in the United States and China by 2025.

General Motors also recently announced it plans on investing $300m into Chinese auto-pilot developers Momenta to help grow develop self-driving technologies. This could also help GM get its own slice of the lucrative Chinese automotive market – the largest in the world.

In terms of share price outlook, Goldman Sachs recently came out as saying it thinks GM is undervalued.

“General Motors (NYSE:GM) is seen as an attractive stock that captures the benefit from an industry recovery in production as well as opportunities to benefit from EVs and advanced driver-assistance systems,” Goldman analyst Mark Delaney said.

GM started the week on a good footing, rising 2.25% on Monday 27th September. It has subsequently flattened but there are reasons to look at the stock in a bit more depth.

Its E/P ratio of 6.04 makes it undervalued. Additionally, analysts expect its earnings to fall by 5.3% this year before rising at an average annual rate of 13.25% over the next five years. Might be worth a look in the short term.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s own spending plans dwarf those of the American rivals above.

Across the next five years, the Wolfsburg-based marque will have spent $86bn on a fully comprehensive overhaul of its production capabilities and model collection. Looking further afield, it plans to make 70 fully electric vehicles by 2030.

231,600 VW EVs were sold in 2020. It has plans to double that to 500,000 by the end of 2021. Adding in plug-in hybrid models, overall sales target for vehicles involving some modicum of electric power comes to 1.5m.

VW also has its eyes on the Chinese prize. It has announced it is launching its ID.3 and ID.4 models in China soon. The ID.4, an electric SUV, will be key to Volkswagen’s Asian expansion plans as this particular car style is a favourite amongst Chinese consumers.

The company’s stock has increased 120% from 2018 up until now, although Forbes believes it is currently reaching the limits of its mid-term potential.

Future earnings will be key in accruing decent performance for VW.

Forbes’ breakdown of the FY2022 outlook is as follows:

  • Revenues – €254 billion
  • Net income – €13.8 billion
  • EPS – €2.75
  • Stock price valuation – $47

Of course, VW’s work also includes that of Audi which is launching its own range of luxury EV models. All of its eggs are currently in one big electric basket, but it could pay off as the world moves away from fossil fuels.

Afternoon wrap: Shell loses emissions court case, Amazon inks MGM deal

Commodities
Equities
Investments

A bit of a dreich day for European equity markets with nothing moving much at all. All the main bourses have traded flat. US markets are mildly higher as Wall Street’s bank chiefs testify in front of Congress. Oil recovered $66 as inventory data showed a bigger-than-expected draw in inventories as well as stocks of gasoline and distillates. US 10s at 1.55%, gold above $1,900 and Bitcoin is weaker in the afternoon session below $39k again.

The dollar caught a big bid into the London fix. Dovish comments from the ECB’s Panetta – too early to taper bond purchases – had already set the EUR on a downwards trajectory through the session. EURUSD retreated to 1.2210 where it seems to have found some support. GBPUSD has tried several times to breach 1.4120 on the downside today but the level is holding well. The dollar index had a run up to 90 but ran out of steam at 89.95.

Doubling Dutch emissions cuts: A court in the Netherlands has ruled Royal Dutch Shell must cut carbon emissions by more than twice the company’s current target of 20% by 2030. The Dutch ruling compels Shell to reduce emissions by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. Currently, Shell has a goal of achieving this 45% target five years later in 2035, and to be net neutral by 2050.

Shares had been trading a little higher all day before the ruling saw them turn mildly negative, before turning back above the flatline towards the end of the session. Shell says it will appeal the ruling. It comes as Chevron and Exxon also face their own climate campaign fight in AGMs today. What does the ruling mean for Shell and peers?

It undoubtedly sets an important precedent that ties corporate actions to global and national policy in a way that has not been seen before. It’s acknowledgment that you cannot abstract the likes of Shell and other ‘polluters’ if you like from the legally-binding treaties and obligations nation states have signed up to. Similar judgments may start to emerge that compel polluters to better align their strategy with government policy (eg the Paris treaty). It could also have implications for other sectors (eg Utilities) though that is less clear right now.

It is not yet clear to what extent this really changes whether you want to own Shell stock right now. True it could face fines if it doesn’t meet the targets, rather than just shareholder disapprobation. It may also need to increase the near-term capex for ‘greening’. But really this is speeding up a process already in motion. Indeed, the recent investor vote on setting more ambitious carbon reduction targets highlighted the extent to which investors are fully behind Shell doing more, quicker, not less, slower. Which kind of says most investors will be comfortable with the ruling, in of itself. Worries about higher capex and lower returns are another matter. The quicker Shell moves on this, the sooner fund managers with ESG-criteria to box tick will take a kinder view to the stock. Shell will have to act on this, and it could speed up divestments and potential deal activity if it is looking to use its current scale to swallow up some green energy assets.

Ford shares rallied 7% as it announced a $30bn investment in electric vehicles through to 2025. Investors lapped up the ambition. The company says it expects 40% of its sales globally to be EVs by 2030. It’s the first investor day under new CEO Jim Farley and there seems to be a real buzz about Ford’s EV plans now – watch out Tesla.

Amazon shares were mildly higher as the company confirmed it is acquiring MGM for $8.45bn. Like just about any big Amazon deal, on the face of things this looks like bad news for competitors, all else being equal. It gives Amazon significantly more firepower in terms of its Prime streaming platform. The impressive catalogue from MGM (James Bond etc) will help Amazon drive further up-selling of content in the Prime mix. Owning MGM also allows Amazon to benefit from having more control in the content output from the studio, which puts more squarely in a straight fight for eyeballs with Netflix/Disney. Of course, we cannot like-for-like Netflix subs with Prime membership, but, on the margins, it could make Prime compete more fully for eyeball time, which a) makes it stickier with users and b) reduces consumer propensity to have another streaming service.

Netflix tracked the move in Amazon shares but this could be more about the broad 0.55% rally for NDX today. Disney shares rose 1%. Comcast rallied 3% as it’s not seen in a rush to do any further deals. We are seeing significant consolidation in the streaming space that acknowledges the requirement for scale in order to survive – only last week AT&T spun off Warner Media to merge with Discovery. A major deal but hardly transformational for Amazon.

Finally, meme stocks are back – GameStop shares rose 14% and are now up 35% on the week. AMC added another 12%. Both jumped yesterday as Redditors on /wallstreetbets renew their interest in their old favourites.

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