Electric vehicle stocks are exploding

Rivian R1T all-electric truck in Times Square on Listing Day, Wednesday, November 10, 2021 in New York City.

Ann-Sophie Fjello-Jensen | PA

The battered shares of several electric vehicle start-ups rose sharply on Thursday morning in wild and largely unexplained trading.

Rivian Automotive, after the market closed on Wednesday, reported a lower first-quarter loss than Wall Street had expected, and Lordstown Motors announced the closure of a crucial deal to sell its Ohio plant.

Shares were up around 16% and 45%, respectively, by mid-morning.

Here are some other major moves in electric vehicle stocks, as of noon in New York:

Several group companies, including Lucid, Fisker, Nikola and Rivian, have offered quarterly updates in recent days that have been better than Wall Street expected and have mostly reassured investors that trading plans longer term remained on track.

That said, many of the EV names that made the biggest moves on Thursday are former “meme stocks” that rose sharply last year due to intense interest from retail investors. Many have since been heavily shorted. Stocks with high short interest often spike during market rallies as investors holding short positions move to cover by buying the stock, adding upward pressure to the move.

Two of the biggest meme stocks, GameStop and AMC Entertainment, were also significantly higher on Thursday — at one point up double digits each — with trading in GameStop halted multiple times for volatility.

Even with the sudden rally, all EV stocks are still trading well below their 2021 highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is still about 30% off its all-time high.

Tesla, the industry leader in electric vehicle production, was conspicuously absent from the list of major electric vehicle movers on Thursday. Tesla shares were down 2% by mid-morning.

Traditional automakers Ford Motor and General Motors fared even worse, down nearly 3% and 5%, respectively, after Wells Fargo analyst Colin Langan cut the bank’s ratings on both to “underweight” late Wednesday night.

Used car network Carvana, another heavily shorted stock, was up more than 40% at one point Thursday morning.

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