Thematic investing: electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are gaining traction among car owners, legislators, and fleet operators worldwide. Can the same be said for investors? In our latest thematic investing guide, the spotlight turns to EV stocks. 

EV stocks & why you should consider them 

Goodbye ICE. Hello EVs 

More and more EVs are appearing on the world’s roads. Drivers have long enjoyed the freedom of movement afforded to us by Nicolaus Otto’s people-empowering invention but the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered.  

The environmental cost of fossil-fuel-powered engines is getting heavier. Slowly, but surely, the chug of a diesel engine or the throaty roar of a high-powered V8 will disappear from our roads. 

The changeover may be coming even faster than that. Reports indicate the EU will move to ban sales of new ICE vehicles as early as 2025. The UK has brought its ban forward to 2030. The book is closing on petrol and diesel. The next chapter begins with lithium-ion battery-powered machines. 

Proliferation is not total. ICE still dominate everyday driving, but EVs sales continue to grow year-on-year, quarter-on-quarter.  

More pure EVs and plug-in hybrid models are on the roads in key automotive markets. 245,000 fully electric models, plus 515,000 hybrid vehicles, were registered in the UK by the end of April 2021, for instance, representing just over 13% of all registered vehicles. 

In China, pure battery-powered car sales were up 113% in Q1 2021, with 333% more hybrids being sold in the same period. Overall EV sales in the US in the first quarter of 2021 shot up 81% too. The appetite for electric power is spreading among vehicle owners.  

Tesla is arguably the most visible electric vehicle brand. Its optics are massive, especially with relentlessly self-publicising CEO Elon Musk in the driver’s seat. That said, the race is on to develop hybrid and electric vehicles by legacy marques, as well as new badges hoping to overtake Tesla. 

It was Toyota that really got the hybrid trend rolling with its iconic Prius model, launched for worldwide sales in 2002. Now, all the major marques have at least one hybrid model in their range or adding one. 

Even luxury brands like Aston Martin are in the act. The “big three” of hypercars, the Porsche 908, Ferrari La Ferrari and McClaren P1, are all hybrid-drive vehicles for example. 

Ford has even transferred its iconic Mustang name to a new electric model, launched in 2020. Renault has plans to resurrect its cheeky-but-charming 5 as a full EV too. VW is planning for its ID range of four electric models will be the core of its range as it pivots towards full electrification.  

The list of car manufacturers making the jump to electric power is extensive, but here are some stocks below to keep an eye on. 

EV stocks to watch 


Beginning with the biggest name in EVs, Tesla shares have been a bit of a journey across the year so far.  

The Elon Musk-controlled marque was soaring, closing January 2021 at $883 – an all-time high.  

Now, a combination of concerns over criticisms from the Chinese market, fatal accidents caused by Tesla’s autopilot system, rising competition, and questions over the brand’s acquisition of $1.5bn worth of Bitcoin cryptocurrency, has caused Tesla’s share price to drop. As of May 21st, Tesla stock was trading at around $593.50. 

Despite this, Tesla increased vehicle deliveries in Q1 2021. Net income hit $438 million during the quarter. Earnings of 93 cents per share on $10.39 billion in revenue.  

New Tesla models are on their way. An updated version of the flagship Model S sedan is coming soon. The Model X SUV will start rollout in Q3 2021. It has also weathered the EV chip shortage by pivoting to new suppliers, meaning manufacturing can continue relatively undisturbed. 

However, if you are considering investing in Tesla stocks, make sure to do your research. Michael Burry, the hedge fund guru who gained fame for exploiting the 2008 Financial Crisis, is shorting $534m worth of Tesla shares, indicating he thinks further stock price declines are on their way. 

A bumpy ride may be ahead for Tesla – but its major brand recognition and positive financial outlook may help steer it back on a growth footing in 2021. 


Nio is not the largest Chinese electric automaker, but it is making big waves.  

Q1 2021 saw NIO deliver just over 20,000 vehicles – a more than 400% y-o-y increase. NIO has already delivered about 95,000 vehicles in total in the year so far. It is leading the way in China’s electric SUV market too, selling slightly more than 7,100 in April, outpacing Tesla. 

In terms of prices, NIO shares are showing similar volatility to Tesla. Since the start of 2021, NIO stock is down 37.5%. Year-to-date, however, NIO share price has soared 870%. Market cap stands at around $55bn. Currently, NIO stocks are trading at around $34.50. 

So where next for NIO? It’s already showing impressive sales growth figures. China is already the largest auto market in the world. It’s forecast to become the largest EV market too, accounting for 40% of the 31.1m global EV sales Deloitte predicts for 2030.  

For NIO, being a native Chinese brand is a huge advantage here. It is protected by domestic laws favouring homegrown brands over foreign marques like rival Tesla. It already holds 23% of the electric SUV segment too. If it can maintain deliveries, NIO and its shares may look very positive in the future.  


The above EV stocks are manufacturers that deal exclusively in pure electric, battery-driven vehicles. Volkswagen is a legacy marque. While it has made substantial headway in introducing its ID range of electric cars, it is still a manufacturer of ICE-powered machines. 

That said, it has an aggressive electrification plan in place. A new factory has been built dedicated solely to EV production at its Wolfsburg campus. It’s even pushing for one million EV sales by the end of 2021, with the ID.4 model identified as VW’s electric golden goose. 

VW shares were up 62.3% from the start of 2021 to the beginning of April, reaching $258. As of May 21st, the share price had grown further with VW shares changing hands for $272. Optimistic electric vehicle sales are potentially powering this growth. VW may be on course to outsell Tesla in 2022 if it can maintain successful sales. 

Here’s the rub. While Tesla had an enormous head start over legacy manufacturers, once the full weight of Toyota, VW, GM, Ford and so on is turned towards non-ICE cars, it will be difficult to match their potential output. These are companies with already massive manufacturing capabilities and the capital to invest in new factories and product lines as we’ve already seen. Therefore, don’t think of single-play manufacturers when looking at EV stocks. Remember established automakers too. 

Risks in investing & trading EV stocks 

Whether a newer brand or a legacy marque, always remember trading EV stocks comes with inherent risks. Market volatility has been seen in the electric vehicle space. While profits can be made, you can also lose money. Always do your research and only invest or trade if you are comfortable taking any potential losses. 

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

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.

Snowflake earnings: what to watch

Snowflake (SNOW) is due to report its first quarter results after the close today (May 26th). Shares in the company are worth about a half of the value they were at their peak in 2020.

The consensus estimate for Q1 is $213.36m in revenue and a $0.16 loss per share. In Q4, Snowflake posted a loss per share of $0.70 on a 117% rise in revenues of $190.5 million.

Goldman Sachs put out a note yesterday on the stock, giving it a buy rating with a 12-month price target of $275. “Following a ~40% correction in the stock since its December 2020 highs, we see a path towards outperformance and believe the durability of growth is not fully reflected in the company’s valuation,” they said.

Snowflake is seen as being well-positioned to capitalize on a “generational shift” in data and analytics to the cloud, and replace incumbent data warehousing solutions “owing to their scalable and elastic cloud native”.  GS added: “We continue to expect another strong quarter as the overall demand environment remains resilient.”

Analysts maintain a broadly positive stance on the stock, with 50/50 buy/hold ratings.

Snowflake stock analysts consensus.

Buy price of Snowflake stock

Price action has been positive of late although we have seen the momentum just fade a little as it approached the April swing highs around $244. The beak of the trendline from the Dec ‘20, Feb ‘21 and Apr ‘21 peaks suggests bulls are taking charge again. MACD crossover also seen as bullish.

Price action of Snowflake shares.

Cryptocurrency update: China’s hard-line crypto stance gets harder

Crypto took a battering over the weekend as China stepped up its anti-mining squeeze. With Bitcoin gains wiped out, how will the market react?

Cryptocurrency update

China crypto crackdown continues

Chinese authorities continue to hammer domestic Bitcoin miners.

HashCow and BTC.TOP are the two latest miners to suspend or scale back operations after Beijing stepped up its anti-mining sentiment. Exchange Huobi said on Monday it will no longer be accepting new users from mainland China. The exchange will now be focussing on overseas customers.

This is seismic for the world of crypto mining as China accounts for 70% of global token supply.

It’s thought part of the reason for the move against miners is partly driven by environmental concerns. The two provinces where the bulk of Chinese mining takes place – Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) – draw energy from coal-fired power stations. With China pledging to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, it’s doing what it can to clean up its act. At least, that’s how it appears on the surface.

The reality is likely Beijing wanting to exert more control over cryptocurrencies. A statement made on Friday by the State Council said the move would “crackdown on Bitcoin mining and trading behaviour, and resolutely prevent the transmission of individual risks to the social field.” This latest move is a way for China’s government to exert its considerable influence over a new, rapidly evolving economic sector.

As you can expect, the consequences for crypto markets have been massive to say the least. Token prices have plummeted.

Miners, who typically don’t hedge all their minted digital tokens into fiat straight away, are thought to be divesting themselves of their stakes. A broader sell-off is underway, which has caused a freefall in crypto asset prices.

May has not been kind to digital currencies. Rumours of tighter crypto exchange regulations and capital gains tax hike proposals in the US gave investors jitters at the start of the month. Tesla turning its back on BTC payments caused further wobbles. China’s hard-line stance was enough to trigger the freefall.

BTC & ETH start on the long road to recovery

Crypto market bellwether crypto BTC took the heaviest body blows following the China news. BTC is trading just shy of 50% lower than April’s $64,000 all-time high at around $36,500.

At the bottom of the trough, prices had slumped to $31,107. Essentially, all gains made since February have been wiped out. Volatility in digital currency markets is nothing new, but BTC will have a long way to go before it reaches new all-time highs. Recovery, as we can see from the price action above, has started but it remains to be seen just how quickly it can regain traction.

Ether, which had only 17-days ago broken the $4,000 barrier for the first time, fell 17.4%, with its lowest level registered at $1,868.79. Since then, the token, used on the Ethereum blockchain, has climbed back to $2252.50. Even with the price hit, ETH is up over 159% year-to-date.

Musk defends the doge

Dogecoin, the memecoin beloved of Elon Musk and thousands of internet traders, gets support from the enigmatic billionaire.

Musk reiterated his position in response to an investor implying the Tesla CEO has an impressive Dogecoin holding.

Elon and his Twitter escapades are very familiar for crypto market investors and observers. Seemingly his every tweet has the power to create major price movements. And, despite all the volatility at hand, and Tesla u-turning on BTC acceptance, Musk is doubling down on crypto, although framing himself as some sort of crypto martyr.

Dogecoin has gained 3.4% as of Monday 24th May following the weekend’s bloodbath.

Gold funds vs cryptocurrencies: which is the new safe bet?

To help settle the ongoing debate, we look at the pros and cons of taking an old school investing approach with gold funds or putting cash into cryptocurrencies.  

Golds funds & cryptocurrency 

Gold as a store of value 

With the emergence and rapid price growth of Bitcoin and other digital tokens, a new breed of investors is looking to use cryptocurrencies as a store of value or a safe haven to hedge against inflation. Gold is seen as a safe haven and acted as a store of value, maintaining its purchasing power over thousands of years. 

Gold seems less interesting to some newer, younger, investing circles. They say it’s old news, a relic of the past.  

Is that really the case? Gold holds many characteristics that make in ideal store of value:  

  • It’s held intrinsic value since the dawn of human civilisation 
  • It’s scarce but in high demand  
  • It’s a physical, tangible asset with many different forms 

The precious metal is also no longer tied to currencies, nor is it pegged to the stock market either. That means gold can be used to hedge against fluctuations in currency markets and share prices.  

The consistency of the gold price is one of its biggest attributes where investors and traders are concerned.  

That’s not to say gold isn’t volatile in terms of its market pricing. Gold prices do fluctuate thus gold funds can go up or down in value. For instance, gold started 2021 at around $1,950. At the time of writing, the gold price was around $1,778.  

Comparatively though, gold can still be seen as a safe haven, protecting against inflation in particular. 

Storing value in Bitcoin 

Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency and a bellwether for the market as a whole. It’s certainly the most valuable, currently trading at around $40,000 (as of May 20th, 2021).  

Because of its enormous per-token price, Bitcoin has been identified by some commentators, such as Citibank’s Tom Fitzpatrick, as “digital gold” – a place to store value in a digitally-led world.  Much like gold, the supply of Bitcoins is finite. Only 21 million tokens will be “mined”, or created via complex computational processes using blockchain tech. 

But we must stress volatility here. Bitcoin prices started 2021 at $34,000. It climbed to an all-time high of $64,000 in April 2021, before falling back below $30,000 in a sharp market crash on May 19th  

What’s interesting, though, is how the digital token’s use has changed. Bitcoin was originally conceived as an alternative to traditional fiat currency.  

Buyers could use the token to pay for goods and services, rather than using pounds, or euros, or dollars and so on. While Bitcoin can still be used as such, it’s massive per-token price means investors are increasingly buying it to hold onto, or HODL, than using it for its intended purpose. 

Of course, Bitcoin is not the only digital currency on the market. Ether, the token for the Ethereum blockchain, is the second most popular digital coin on the market. At the time of writing, Ether is trading at around $2,700.  

Unlike Bitcoin tough, Ether has a more practical use in the sense that transactions used on the Ethereum blockchain 

Other tokens like Ripple, Dogecoin, Dash, and Polkadot continue to draw investor/trader attention. However, they have yet to reach the price heights of Ether or Bitcoin. 

At the start of May 2021, the total cryptocurrency market was valued at $2.3 trillion. Gold’s total valuation is somewhere in the region of $11 trillion. 

Gold funds & cryptocurrency: head-to-head 

So, what are the pros and cons of putting your money into a gold fund or investing in digital currencies? 


As we established earlier, part of what fuels the gold price is its rarity. It’s a precious metal, and extraction levels have started to drop off. We may still be some way off peak gold, but the supply shrinks each year, unless a new major discovery occurs.  

Bitcoin is also in finite supply, and the algorithm through which new tokens are generated has been altered to make them even rarer. Not all cryptocurrencies have a maximum cap, but they often put a limit on the amount of coins mined per year. 

Inherent value 

Again, we touched on this earlier. Gold has always held value for many reasons. Its rarity combined with its practical uses means it is likely to stay in high demand. 

Cryptocurrencies’ value, in price terms, has risen massively since Bitcoin was first founded in 2009. Digital tokens are meant to be the next step in global currency. Their creators hope to see more people using them for everyday transactions. The true value of cryptocurrencies, and if they will even be used for this purpose, is yet to be seen.  

Some commentators like Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, believe cryptocurrencies have no inherent value, which puts off more traditionally minded investors from exploring digital currencies. 


On the price of gold is much less volatile than the price of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.  

There are some tokens called stablecoins, such as Tether, which are supposedly tied to the US dollar. These are thought to exhibit less volatility than their non-paired cousins, but these do not have the same massive per-token price tag as Bitcoin or Ether.  

Cryptocurrency price movements are also much more susceptible to market news and opinions. Even a tweet from the likes of Elon Musk can cause the price to skyrocket or tumble. Gold, while still having its own ups and downs, such as reacting to high government bond yields, does not move to the whims of markets quite so spectacularly. 


Gold and cryptocurrencies are available to anyone who has the money.  

In terms of gold, it is available as both a physical product in a myriad of forms and a tradeable commodity on global exchanges. Gold ETFs are among the most popular ways for investors to access gold since it enables exposure to the metal without the requirement to take physical delivery and store it. 

There are no physical crypto tokens. They are an entirely digital asset. However, they can be bought via exchanges and kept in digital wallets, or tradeable with leverage via Contracts for Difference (CFDs). Gold CFDs are also available. 

Transparency, safety & legality 

Because of its long historical importance, gold has one of the most well-established tracking, authentication, weighing, and trading systems in the world. It is exceptionally difficult to forge or corrupt gold. It’s one of the reasons why gold is such a safe haven. 

Cryptocurrencies run on decentralised platforms. While that means they are accessible to anyone, there is no central governing body overseeing their creation and distribution.  

That being said, blockchain technology contains lots of encryption and complicated algorithms that makes it hard to hack and corrupt. But there have been some recent cases of exchanges collapsing and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of coins going missing.  

While institutional support is also rising for digital currencies, there is also major push back. Retail crypto trading is banned in the UK, for example. India and Turkey are also mulling bans. Wholesale acceptance is still some way off. 

Should you invest in gold funds or cryptocurrency? 

The jury is still out.  

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have potential, but their inherent volatility plus regulatory woes may put off investors.  

Gold, on the other hand, represents surety and security. For the more cautious investor, a gold fund may be the way to go. 

In either case, investing and trading comes with risk of capital loss. You should only invest or trade if you can afford to take any losses. 

Bitcoin, Musk & the great Tesla U-Turn

Elon Musk, eh? His influence on cryptocurrency seems total. Even his smallest tweet can cause seismic price movements. He’s been at it again, this time with a major statement that has wiped billions off Bitcoin’s market cap. 

Musk voices big Bitcoin concerns 

On Wednesday, Musk announced Tesla will no longer be accepting payment in Bitcoin. The enigmatic billionaire cited concerns over “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining”, as reasons for this big U-turn. 

“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels, and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” Musk wrote in a long statement posted as a tweet. 

It appears, at least on the surface, that Musk’s cryptocurrency jitters have been triggered by some pioneering research from Cambridge University.  

The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Index measures the volume of electricity needed to power Bitcoin mining, the complex computational conundrum that generates the in-demand tokens. 

Cambridge’s findings are shocking, to say the least. Generating new Bitcoin tokens requires more energy than countries like Sweden or Malaysia. Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are heavily involved in Bitcoin’s power generation chain.  

The conclusion is simple: heavier Bitcoin mining means higher greenhouse gas emissions. 

Musk’s decision to stop accepting Bitcoin as payment is also a realisation of a fact: people don’t want to spend their Bitcoin. People are investing in it, not spending it. It’s less a currency than an investment asset to buy and hold (or HODL). 

The U-turn that turned into a slide 

Markets were not happy. Losses mounted quickly. Musk’s comments initially led to a $365.8 million drop in value for Bitcoin, heavily biting into its previous $2.5tn market cap valuation. 

Bitcoin, which recently passed the $61,000 mark for the first time, had been trading around $56,000. It subsequently dipped below $50,000, hitting $46,000 to reach the lowest levels since early March.  

Bitcoin is a crypto bellwether. Usually, when it goes, all the other tokens go with it. That was the case on Wednesday evening. 10 of the major cryptos, including joke-but-not-actually-a-joke token Dogecoin, a pet favourite of Musk, fell precipitously too. 

Despite its wild price swing, BTC is still making gains at a frenzied pace. The world’s most popular crypto is up 400% year-to-date.  

What’s next?  

It all depends on how Bitcoin mining reacts. If it keeps up its current energy consumption levels using fossil fuel-powered energy generation, then the damage to the environment will rise. That may cause further ripples of discontent against the crypto. 

The complexity of the algorithm required to mint fresh Bitcoin tokens is increasing too. It will require more computing power to create new coins. More power will be needed. Not great for the environment. 

Some steps are being taken. China announced in March that crypto mining operations in the Inner Mongolia region will be shut thanks to their power-hungry energy requirements becoming too high for example. 

Others say increased crypto mining activity could act as a catalyst for renewable energy.  

Cathie Wood of Ark Investment fame, alongside Square’s Jack Dorsey, has put out a memo with words to that effect, but critics are not so sure. They claim Woods and Dorsey have a vested interest in touting Bitcoin’s potential positive environmental impact when the current research suggests the opposite. 

There’s a bit of hypocrisy, or at least contradiction, at play for Tesla too. The company makes electric vehicles that are viewed as the environmentally-friendly alternative to internal combustion motoring (questions around battery component mining notwithstanding).  

Can it really be seen to continue investing in Bitcoin for its balance sheet with the current conversation around crypto mining’s sustainability? 

Eagle-eyed crypto hounds will no doubt recall Tesla padding its balance sheet with $1.5bn of Bitcoin earlier in the year. Its stake had grown to $2.5bn as of May 2021.  

Trading reports suggest the automaker even made more profit from cryptocurrency trading than from the actual sales of cars in Q1 2021. 

CFO Mark Kirkhorn said in Tesla’s April earnings call that he believes in the token’s long-term value and was planning on using customer purchases to acquire more. Obviously, customer-generated BTC acquisition is off the cards, but will Tesla continue to dabble on crypto exchanges? 

ESG, environmental, social & governance, is a growing concern for investors. Some Tesla shareholders may be feeling a little queasy at the automaker’s crypto dalliance. After all, this is meant to be a company pioneering a greener mode of travel. If it continues to work with Bitcoin, some shareholders’ green thinking may cause them to pull out and that could affect the share price. 

Bitcoin probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon either. This volatility is something we’ve come to expect from the world’s most popular crypto. But with ESG and sustainability conversations intensifying, it’s going to be an interesting year for the digital currency. 

UK preliminary GDP q/q preview (Wed, 07:00 BST)

The Bank of England anticipates UK economic output contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter of the year, which should be pretty much our reference point for the print on Wednesday, with the consensus at –1.6%. The –2.2% in January was stronger than expected and was followed by a 0.4% expansion in February. Whilst March data does not capture the reopening of non-essential shops, there is evidence that spending and activity were already picking up before the Apr 12th easing of lockdown restrictions. Moreover, the UK economy has proved to be a lot more resilient to lockdown 3 than lockdown 1. Put that down to the adjustment of people and business to the displacement; for instance the embrace of remote working, as well the lockdown rules themselves being less restrictive to economic activity than the first lockdown a year before. Better and more comprehensive testing has also played an important part in keeping in most economic activity going.

The March IHS Markit / CIPS services PMI showed a strong rebound in March, with the index rising to 56.3 from 49.5 in Feb. The robust PMI coupled with other evidence of increased card spending and mobility suggest a solid bounce back in the final month of the quarter, with a month-on-month expansion of around 1.3% expected. Whilst not a direct read on the Q1 numbers, Barclays today says that April card spending has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

But this all remains rear-view fare: the market is more interested in the +7% growth expected in 2021 which is going to imply some pretty impressive expansion in the third and fourth quarters in particular. Strongest expansion since WW2 is more eye-catching than a mild contraction in Q1 that has been well and truly priced. Going forward, we are not really going to know what the true size of the economy really is for some time because there has been a huge displacement in economic activity as well as the velocity of people. Adjusting to this new normal will take time and measures of output will always lag what is really happening. Moreover, as Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report in the US evinces, hard data is liable to being way off forecasts because it’s so hard to get a handle on what we are comparing it with; furlough and other emergency schemes masked the true depth of the economic contraction. Just as the pandemic led to an unprecedented contraction, there is not really a playbook for this recovery, so we should be careful not to over-read individual prints.

By way of context, the NIESR this morning estimates that the UK economy will recover 2019 levels by the end of 2022. The recovery is strong but it’s coming from a low base. To add further context, as of Feb the British economy remains 7.8% smaller than it was a year before. Moreover, it is still 3.1% below where it was at the peak of the post-lockdown recovery in October 2020 – evidence that this long third lockdown over the first quarter has set things back some way. NIESR also estimates that UK unemployment will peak at 6.5% rather than 7.5%, reflecting the extent to which government support schemes have masked what is really going on.

Chart showing UK GDP performance.

Cryptocurrency update: ETH soars while Dogecoin spins

Ether starts the week strongly, breaching all-time highs, while Dogecoin chases its tail.

Cryptocurrency update

Ether soars to all-time high

It makes for refreshing reading when a cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin makes its own stellar gains.
This week, it’s Ether (ETH), the digital token for the Ethereum blockchain. The token has reached a new all-time high, breaking above $4,000.

While Bitcoin steals the headlines, ETH has actually made more substantial gains across 2021 so far. As of May 10th, 2021, Ether’s year-to-date return was a cool 435% against Bitcoin’s 104%.

Ether’s total market cap is now valued at around $470bn. For context, the stock market valuation of JPMorgan Chase, the US’ largest bank, floats around $488bn.

Behind the ETH drive is intensified worldwide interest in Decentralised Finance (DeFi). DeFi is functions around trading, lending, and other financial processes, that seek to match those of traditional banking and financial firms, executed via blockchain technology.

The Ethereum blockchain serves as the foundation for the DeFi world, as well as being a basis for non-fungible tokens, one of cryptocurrencies hottest trends. Transactions undertaken on the Ethereum blockchain are charged in a small amount of Ether, giving the token a practical use.

The more use the Ethereum blockchain gets from DeFi developers then the higher ETH prices will climb, in theory, and that’s what we’re currently seeing.

Elon Musk sets Dogecoin’s tail wagging

Shiba Inus are known to be bold, strong-willed, quirky, and confident. It’s a dog breed likes to do things differently; one that doesn’t always do what its owners want.

While very cute, and with massive meme-potential as the internet has clearly shown, there’s no telling what a Shiba will do from one minute to the next.

Those characteristics that make fuzzy, feisty Shibas a bit of a handful apply neatly to Dogecoin, the once joke currency that runs to the beat of its own drum. Choosing the Shiba Inu as the token’s mascot is looking more appropriate every day.

Dogecoin had an exceptionally eventful weekend after notorious tweeter and Dogecoin meme supporter Elon musk sent the token spinning.

Firstly, on Saturday 8th May when hosting Saturday Night Live, Musk triggered a Dogecoin sell off after calling the currency a “hustle” during his opening monologue. The currency’s value subsequently tumbled.

But come Monday 10th, Musk was giving Dogecoin a bone again. This time, the billionaire meme machine said his SpaceX firm would be accepting payment via Dogecoin from a Canadian firm Geometric Energy Corp, to send a satellite to the moon.

Yes, Musk and Co. are planning to literally send Dogecoin to the moon. The DOGE-1 satellite mission is said to be launching in Q1 2022.

“This mission will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce,” SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero said in a press release. “We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!”

According to GSC, the rocket’s payload will “obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras on-board using communications and computational systems”.

Does anyone else think this is getting out of hand now? Thanks to the power of Musk’s tweets, Dogecoin has gained an almost unbelievable 11,000% year-to-date. Perhaps it’s not the Shiba Inus that need putting on a leash but Musk himself.

After all, real currency from real pepole is being pumped into Dogecoin at the whims of a figure who clearly sees it all as a bit of a joke. Of course, the token did start life as a novelty, but its huge gains, and the spotlight afforded by Musk and his ilk, is turning it into something serious. Let’s hope no one gets bitten.

BoE’s Bailey gives stark crypto warning

“I’m going to say this very bluntly again: buy crypto only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.”

Harsh words from Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, speaking at the Bank’s Thursday May 6th press conference.

When asked for his opinion on crypto, Bailey said: “They have no intrinsic value. That doesn’t mean to say people don’t put value on them, because they can have extrinsic value. But they have no intrinsic value.”

Bailey’s words echo those of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. In January, the FCA said: “Investing in cryptoassets, or investments and lending linked to them, generally involves taking very high risks with investors’ money. If consumers invest in these types of product, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”

Cryptocurrency trading is currently not available in the UK for retail customers.

It will be interesting to see if Bailey’s thoughts have any actual effect on token prices.

Institutional support for cryptos as a whole as been up this year, mirroring crypto gains. Visa and Mastercard are upping their crypto offering; Tesla is dabbling with crypto trading alongside its core EV business; Banks like Deutsche Bank are exploring more crypto services.

Bailey’s comments do represent the fact that full support amongst financial circles for digital currencies has yet to be realised. They also reinforce the fact that volatility is never far away from cryptos. Massive price increases have been paired against violent crashes. Losses are a very real possibility – something all crypto traders should keep in mind.

Thematic investing: renewable energy stocks

The world is starting to invest in renewable energy. You can too. From wind energy stocks to utility firms, we take a look at some of the key clean power stocks that could perform well in the short and long term.

How you can invest in renewable energy

The case for green power

Global governments have committed to slashing their carbon emissions. The UK and US are both gunning for net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, while the EU has pledged to cut its own greenhouse gas output in half by 2030.

We’ve also seen countries in areas like Central America go all in on renewables, adopting mass solar, wind and hydro power for their national grids. Billions is being pumped into large-scale solar farms throughout the Middle East too with Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi leading the way.

Pressure is mounting on China to cut the use of coal-fired power stations over the next decade to meet climate goals.

The historic 2016 Paris Climate agreement was a major step towards a greener future. Under its protocols, signed by 197 nations, the world essentially pledged to limit global temperatures no more than 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels. A lofty goal, to be sure, but one that could pay dividends for investors and traders.

The investment behind this worldwide initiative is nothing short of gargantuan. Joe Biden’s presidency alone is pushing through $2 trillion worth in clean energy projects and investments. Since 2019, over $54bn has been spent by the EU and UK on wind power development alone. China’s figure is over $100bn.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the planet faces. Countries are likely to continue to invest in renewable energy into the 21st century.

Using Britain as an example, the UK’s renewable market is expected to grow at a CAGR of other 9% from now until 2026, and that’s just one nation amongst many.

We can also see commitment to new green power generation infrastructure by looking at capacity installation. In total, 260 GW of renewable capacity was installed in 2020 – a 50% y-o-y increase.

As such, wind energy stocks, solar, and other green power sources could be poised to benefit greatly in the short and long term. See below for some renewables stocks that could be worth adding to the portfolio of the environmentally-conscious commodities investor.

Renewable & wind energy stocks to watch

Brookfield Renewable Partners

Brookfield Renewable Partners is one of the world’s largest publicly traded clean power suppliers. It has a multi-pronged approach to renewable energy, developing and supplying solar, hydro and wind power, as well as offering energy storage functions.

The bulk of Brookfield power is purchased under long-term, fixed rate deals, giving the firm steady cash flow. It also boasts a strong balance sheet and a BBB+ bond rating from S&P – one of the highest awarded to a renewables firm.

Currently, Brookfields believes it can pump around $800m-$1bn worth of liquidity into fresh projects from now until 2025. Estimates suggest annual cash flow growth per share of 11% to 16%, supporting yearly dividend increases between 5% to 9%, making it one to watch.

Vestas Wind Systems

One the key wind energy stocks is Vestas.

It’s a bit of a behemoth when it comes to wind power, being a cornerstone turbine supplier to on and offshore projects throughout the world, including three upcoming projects in Australia totalling 420 MW. The Danish firm is also mulling over expanding its footprint in the UK’s offshore sector.

In 2020, Vestas revenues grew by an impressive 22%, with its bottom line amount too €771m. Profitability did dropped by 25%, to €750m, caused by Covid-incurred costs. Deliveries, however, increased over 2020, with Vestas delivering 17.2 GW of capacity to project sites across the world – a 34% year-on-year rise.

Vestas’ €43bn project backlog is enough to inspire major confidence. It has increased dividend by over 5% in 2021, making the company one of the few renewable energy stocks with a pay-out (although its yield is less than 1%).

NextEra Energy

NextEra Energy powers 5.5m Florida homes with a combination of wind and solar and claims to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of wind and solar-generated power.

The company has been pumping cash into its renewables subsidiary over the past decade. Under its Florida Power & Light utility provider, the firm will be piloting something new for Florida: a “green hydrogen” plant, generating clean gas production via solar power, set to go live in 2023.

What’s more, NextEra has snapped up desirable acreage throughout the Sunshine State. It has plans to develop these key sites over the next 20 years.

In the short term, NexEra’s investments should power earnings growth of at least 6% to 8% per year through 2023. The firm could also increase its dividend by about 10% annually through at least 2022.

Want to invest in renewable energy? Remember the risks

While in the long term, the world is shifting towards a cleaner, greener future for energy generation, please be aware that all investing and trading is risky.

Whether you want to add wind energy stocks to your portfolio, or you’re looking at renewable utility suppliers or solar companies, bear in mind your investment can go up or down. You can lose more money than what you started with.

Only invest or trade if you are confident you can afford any losses.

La settimana che ci aspetta: Il PIL del primo trimestre nel Regno Unito, le vendite al dettaglio negli USA e i dati IPC

Oggi vengono pubblicati i dati del PIL del primo trimestre del Regno Unito, il che darà una prospettiva per il resto dell’anno. Le previsioni ottimistiche degli economisti saranno vere? Negli Stati Uniti sono in arrivo i rapporti sulle vendite al dettaglio e sui dati degli IPC, che potrebbero evidenziare la potenziale inflazione con il progredire dell’economia. Per il resto, Wall Street si prepara a un altra serie di utili.

Il PIL del Regno Unito del primo trimestre rispetterà le prospettive ottimistiche?

Le cifre del PIL del primo trimestre dovrebbero mostrare una contrazione più lieve di quanto inizialmente temuto, quando la nazione era entrata in un periodo di lockdown. La scorsa settimana la Banca d’Inghilterra ha dichiarato di aspettarsi una contrazione dell’economia dell’1,5% nel primo trimestre. Tuttavia, il rapporto trimestrale sulla politica monetaria ha visto il Monetary Policy Committee aumentare le sue prospettive di crescita per l’intero anno per l’economia del Regno Unito, con una previsione di un aumento del 7,25% del PIL.

Questo punto di vista è stato rispecchiato dagli economisti. Invece di dipingere un ritratto a tinte fosche, le stime presentano invece una visione più florida per l’economia del Regno Unito. Probabilmente non si tratta ancora di un quadro pienamente luminoso, ma i numeri sono promettenti.

Le stime prevalenti prevedono che il calo del PIL sia compreso tra l’1 e il 2,5%. Barclays, Oxford Economics e ING tendono a spostare l’asticella verso l’alto, con una previsione di un calo del 2-2,5%. Deloitte, invece, fissa il calo al -1,7%.

Continuiamo a sottolineare l’importanza del vaccino, poiché l’impatto della rapida introduzione e attuazione di un solido regime di vaccinazione a livello nazionale non può essere sottovalutato. Sempre più persone stanno tornando al lavoro; le restrizioni del lockdown vengono via via rimosse; pub e ristoranti saranno presto completamente aperti; il settore dell’edilizia si prepara ad una crescita a doppia cifra.

In effetti, pensando a previsioni più a lungo termine, potremmo osservare una delle più veloci crescite del PIL del Regno Unito negli ultimi 30 anni.

Le previsioni di primavera di EY ITEM Club indicano una possibile crescita annualizzata del 6,8% per tutto il 2021, con l’economia che tornerebbe ai livelli pre-pandemici entro il secondo trimestre del 2022. Goldman è ancora più ottimista: secondo l’analista Sven Jari Stehn la previsione è di una crescita del 7,8%.

Una volta che il lockdown sarà completamente rimosso e l’economia tornerà alla normalità, probabilmente assisteremo ad una delle più grandi espansioni economiche degli ultimi decenni. Dipenderà tutto dal modo in cui il paese riuscirà a uscire dal lockdown.

Occhi puntati sull’IPC degli Stati Uniti, mentre l’inflazione aumenta

L’inflazione potrebbe iniziare a minare i progressi dell’economia statunitense. I dati dell’IPC di marzo hanno mostrato un aumento mese su mese, quindi l’aumento di questa settimana dei prezzi sui grafici di aprile assume una rinnovata importanza.

Guardando i dati di marzo, i prezzi al consumo sono aumentati dello 0,6% rispetto a febbraio, con una crescita del 2,6% rispetto a marzo 2020. Un aumento del 9,1% della benzina ha alimentato l’aumento dell’IPC, che è stato superiore a quello stimato dal Dow Jones dello 0,5% mensile e del 2,5% annuo.

In futuro bisognerà tenere d’occhio la pressione inflazionistica sull’economia. L’aumento dei prezzi al consumo potrebbe rivelarsi un catalizzatore verso l’aumento del tasso di base, cosa che il presidente della Fed Jerome Powell si è finora fermamente rifiutato di accettare. Al momento, la strategia della Fed è quella di lasciare che l’economia si “surriscaldi”.

Tuttavia, i mercati hanno finora scontato una crescita e un’inflazione più elevate durante tutto l’anno. Anche quest’anno i rendimenti dei titoli di Stato hanno suscitato alcuni brontolii, con rendimenti che hanno raggiunto alcuni dei livelli più alti da prima della pandemia. Nel complesso, l’apertura dell’economia, oltre agli importanti stimoli governativi, sta contribuendo ad un clima inflazionistico, quindi la Fed dovrebbe guardare i dati dell’IPC di questo mese con attenzione.

Aprile riuscirà ad eguagliare il successo di marzo delle vendite al dettaglio negli Stati Uniti?

Abbiamo visto che nel 2021 l’economia statunitense ha premuto sull’acceleratore, con un aumento del 6,4% nel primo trimestre. Le prospettive sono più rosee su tutta la linea, anche se sono leggermente offuscate dall’ombra dell’inflazione. Questa settimana verranno rese note le statistiche sulle vendite al dettaglio di aprile, dopo il boom di marzo, ma potrebbe essere in arrivo un cambiamento nel modo in cui i consumatori statunitensi spendono i loro soldi.

A marzo, le vendite al dettaglio totali negli Stati Uniti sono cresciute di un enorme 9,8% su base mensile. Una combinazione di clima più caldo, di lockdown meno aspri e di stimoli alla spesa ha spinto al rialzo le vendite. La crescita su base annua è stata incredibile, e si è attestata al 30,4%.

Le aree di maggiore crescita sono state quelle degli articoli sportivi (23,5%), dell’abbigliamento (18,3%) e degli autoveicoli (15,1%).

Tuttavia, con la riapertura dell’economia, gli investitori statunitensi potrebbero rivolgere la loro attenzione verso altri settori. “Esperienze” e viaggi potrebbero vedere grandi guadagni questo mese, grazie all’allentamento delle restrizioni sui viaggi, mentre chi può spende potrà anche iniziare a iniettare denaro nel settore dell’ospitalità. Ciò potrebbe sottrarre liquidità alle vendite al dettaglio, per questo motivo la crescita ad aprile potrebbe non essere all’altezza della straordinaria performance di marzo.

Continua la stagione degli utili a Wall Street

Anche per questa settimana Wall Street si prepara ad accogliere le notizie delle aziende a grande capitalizzazione che riferiscono sugli utili trimestrali.

Alcuni colossi stanno per riferire nella prossima fase della stagione degli utili. Disney sarà una di queste aziende da osservare. I parchi hanno riaperto, ma troppo tardi perché si possa vedere un impatto reale sui guadagni del primo trimestre. Al contrario, l’attenzione sarà concentrata sul suo servizio di streaming Disney+, che ha raccolto un numero importante di abbonati nell’ultimo anno.

Anche i guadagni del primo trimestre del colosso cinese dell’e-commerce Alibaba saranno al centro dell’attenzione. L’azienda ha segnato una media del 19,29% nei due trimestri precedenti e potrebbe essere sulla buona strada per farlo di nuovo. Le previsioni di Zack sono positive, il che di norma è un buon segno per un imminente aumento degli utili.

Qui sotto potrai trovare un riepilogo delle aziende a grande capitalizzazione che riferiranno sui loro utili questa settimana.

I principali dati economici

Date  Time (GMT+1)  Currency  Event 
Mon 10-May  02.30am  AUD  Retail sales m/m 
Tue 11-May  10.30am  AUD  Annual budget release 
Wed 12-May  07.00am  GBP  Prelim GDP q/q 
  1.30pm  USD  CPI m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Core CPI m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
Thu 13-May  1.30pm  USD  Unemployment Claims 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
Fri 14-May  1.30pm  USD  Retail Sales m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Core Retail Sales m/m 
  2.15pm  USD  Industrial Production m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment 


I principali rapporti sugli utili

Date  Company  Event 
Mon 10-May  Duke Energy  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Air  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Mariott Inc.  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Tyson Foods  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Panasonic Corp.  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Tue 11-May  Palantir Technologies  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Electronic Arts  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  E.ON  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Alstrom  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Nissan  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  NAMCO BANDAI  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Wed 12-May  Toyota  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Allianz  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Deutsche Telekom  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Merck  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Bayer  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Hapag-Lloyd   Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Fujifilm  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Polyus Gold  Q1 2021 Earnings 
Thu 13-May  Alibaba  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Walt Disney  Q2 2021 Earnings 
  Airbnb  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Coinbase  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Petrobras  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Telefonica  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  BT Group  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Mitsubishi  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Suzuki  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Rakuten  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Burberry  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Fri 14-May  Rosneft  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Honda  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  UNICHARM  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Knorr-Bremse  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Toshiba  Q4 2020 Earnings 

CySEC (Europa)


  • CFD
  • Negoziazione di azioni
  • Costruttore di strategia

  • I fondi dei Clienti sono tenuti in conti bancari separati
  • Compensazione FSCS per l’Investitore fino a EUR 20.000
  • Copertura assicurativa da €1.000.000**
  • Protezione dal Saldo Negativo, gestito da Safecap Investments Limited (“Safecap”) Regolamentato dalla CySEC con licenza numero 092/08 e dalla FSCA con licenza numero 43906.

FSC (Globale)


  • CFD
  • Costruttore di strategia

  • I fondi dei Clienti sono tenuti in conti bancari separati
  • Verifica elettronica
  • Protezione dal Saldo Negativo
  • Copertura assicurativa da $1.000.000**, gestito da Finalto (BVI) Limited (“Finalto BVI”) Tiene la licencia número SIBA/L/14/1067 regolamentato dalla B.V.I Financial Services Commission (“FSC").

FCA (Gran Bretagna)


  • CFD
  • Le spread bet
  • Costruttore di strategia

  • I fondi dei Clienti sono tenuti in conti bancari separati
  • Indennizzo agli investitori della FSCS fino a GBP85.000. *a seconda di criteri ed idoneità
  • Copertura assicurativa da £1.000.000**
  • Protezione dal Saldo Negativo gestito da Finalto Trading Limited Regolamentato dalla Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) con licenza n.607305

ASIC (Australia)


  • CFD

  • I fondi dei Clienti sono tenuti in conti bancari separati
  • Verifica elettronica
  • Protezione dal Saldo Negativo
  • Copertura assicurativa da $1.000.000**, gestito da Finalto (Australia) Pty Limited Detiene una licenza per i servizi finanziari australiana n. 424008 ed è regolamentata nella fornitura di servizi finanziari dell’Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC”).

Selezionando uno di questi organismi di regolamentazione, verranno visualizzate le informazioni corrispondenti su tutto il sito web. Se vuoi visualizzare le informazioni per un organismo di regolamentazione diverso, selezionalo. Per maggiori informazioni, clicca qui.

**Soggetto a termini e condizioni. Consulta la polizza integrale per maggiori dettagli.


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