In an interview with The Financial Times, Drew Dickson, chief investment officer at Albert Bridge Capital, explains that in the short and intermediate term, electric vehicle stocks have been dominated not by fundamentals, but by “flow, momentum, memes, and appetites.” Robin Wigglesworth reports on the increasing power of electric vehicle makers’ over financial markets, writing:
An index of EV and electric battery companies compiled by the FT has a combined market capitalisation of almost $1.8tn. In contrast, automotive giants Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai, the biggest car manufacturers in the world, are worth about $254bn, $135bn and $42bn, respectively.
“There’s obviously a big halo effect with anything electric vehicle-related at the moment, thanks to Tesla,” says Benjamin Bowler, an equity derivatives strategist at Bank of America.
Even Nikola, an electric truck start-up that has set aside $125m to settle fraud charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission over claims that it misled investors about its technology, is still valued at $5.4bn. That is enough to qualify it for the blue-chip S&P 500 index — if it had ever made any profit.
If Tesla’s ascent continues it will further enrich believers, hurt the dwindling band of doubters and drag swaths of the broader equity market up with it. But if it were to fall sharply, it could cause ripples through financial markets that are far in excess of what many appreciate.
Tesla did drop as much as 17.6 per cent in November before rallying once more, without the fall triggering any major ripples. But even this decline only took it back to its October level, and a bigger, more sustained drop could prove more impactful.
“There is a huge, recursive ‘tail wagging the dog’ nature to the valuation of a lot of things these days,” says Dickson. “I’m unwavering in my belief that ultimately the fundamentals are what matters. But over the past few years I can see that the short and intermediate term is far more dominated by flow, momentum, memes and appetites.”
He recalls the financial analyst Ben Graham’s adage that the stock market is a voting machine in the short run, but a weighing machine in the longer run. “In the current environment, I think we’re spending a lot more time voting,” says Dickson.
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