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Electric Vehicle Checkpoint: Tesla Gets Boost From Bitcoin

See the latest news for the top stocks in the electric vehicle space including Ford, General Motors, NIO, Lordstown Motors, Canoo, and more.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report shares were trading more than 4% lower Tuesday despite the company’s impressive first-quarter earnings.

The overall market has been struggling for direction and Tesla’s weakness doesn’t help matters given its size in the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 - although a large number of earnings this week likely doesn’t help either.

Tesla, which has been a constant beacon for all EV stocks, posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings Monday thanks in part to surging deliveries in China. The electric vehicle company notched its seventh-consecutive quarterly profit and net profit on a GAAP basis reached a quarterly record of $438 million.

Tesla earned just over $100 million from the sale of bitcoins it purchased earlier this year, the electric vehicle company revealed in its first-quarter earnings Monday.

Tesla, which unveiled a purchase of $1.5 billion on February 8 when it published its annual report, noted Monday that its 'cash and cash equivalents stood at $17.1 billion at quarter-end, including its bitcoin holdings.

However, it also noted in its "profitability" notes that its operating income of $594 million was helped by "year over year, positive impacts from volume growth, regulatory credit revenue growth, gross margin improvement driven by further product cost reductions and sale of bitcoin ($101 million positive impacts, net of related impairments) were mainly offset by a lower ASP, increased SBC, additional supply chain costs, R&D investments, and other items."

Tesla's earnings statement said the bitcoin sale was $272 million and noted that its 'digital assets" total at quarter-end was $1.331 billion. 

Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CFO Zach Kirkhorn disclosed that--while Tesla had made a $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin earlier this year--that the company had raised around $101 million from selling Bitcoin to prove the liquidity of the cryptocurrency.

This led to many Bitcoin believers speaking out against Tesla, and even Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy took to Twitter to ask if he had understood the situation correctly. Portnoy asked Twitter whether or not Musk had pumped Bitcoin and then sold it to make a fortune.

However, Elon Musk pushed back. Musk noted that he personally had not sold any of his Bitcoin, but that Tesla the company had sold 10% of its holdings. 

For more in-depth coverage of the electric vehicle sector including trading recommendations and investment strategies, follow experts on Real Money.

Here is a list of the electric vehicle stocks to watch and their performance from the past week by percentage change at the close of trading on Tuesday, Apr. 27:

Tesla | -1.55% 5-Day

Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report shares slumped lower Tuesday as investors dug into the clean-energy carmaker's record first-quarter earnings and offset improving margins and a robust outlook with one-time items that boosted its bottom line.

Tesla posted a Street-beating bottom line of 93 cents a share, with revenues rising 74.3% to $10.39 billion and automotive profit margins jumping 100 basis points to an impressive 26.5%.

However, the group's overall profits were partly flattered by a $100 million boost from the sale of bitcoin, a 46% increase in the sale of environmental credits worth $518 million, and a lower tax rate, all of which combined to add an estimated 25 cents a share to Tesla's bottom line, according to analysts at Credit Suisse.

Still, Tesla reiterated its full-year forecast of 50% annual sales growth, with founder and CEO Elon Musk predicted that the Model Y will be "the best-selling car or vehicle of any kind in the world and probably next year".

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TheStreet Recommends

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Tesla as a Hold with a rating score of C.

Ford | +9.00% 5-Day

Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report announced Tuesday that it wants to control the key technology for electric vehicles, and plans to open a battery development center near Detroit by the end of next year, The Associated Press reported. 

"The company said the 200,000-square-foot facility will have the equipment to design, test, and even do small-scale manufacturing of battery cells and packs. The $185 million lab also will develop electronic controls and other items as Ford moves more of the process in-house," according to The Associated Press. 

In the meantime, the company will extend downtime at several North American factories amid the worldwide semiconductor shortage that has hampered auto production and threatened global supply chains. The automaker's plants in Chicago, suburban Detroit, and Kansas City, Mo., will be idled the weeks of May 3 and May 10. An SUV plant in Ontario will also take an extra week of downtime in early May.

"Ford's North American plants continue to be affected by the global semiconductor shortage - along with automakers and other industries around the world," John Savona, Ford's vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs, wrote in a memo to employees obtained by The Detroit News.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Ford as a Hold with a rating score of C.

General Motors | +5.74% 5-Day

Shares of U.S. automaker General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report dropped this past week after U.S. regulators started investigating complaints that the airbags on thousands of GM vehicles may not inflate in a crash.

The company's shares also slipped amid reports that the carmaker is idling another North American plant as a result of the ongoing shortage in global semiconductor supplies. CNBC said General Motors will temporarily close its facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee later this month, and reiterated the company's estimate that chip shortages will ding its 2021 operating profit by as much as $2 million.

“Tesla is falling behind other automakers like GM and Ford that, on models with advanced driver assist systems, use technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road," Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, said in a statement.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates GM as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Nikola | +27.93% 5-Day

Nikola  (NKLA) - Get Nikola Corporation Report has signed a deal under which it will open two hydrogen filling stations at California locations of truck-stop franchisor TravelCenters of America.

In a statement, the companies said they saw the accord as a first step toward building out a nationwide network of hydrogen fuel stations. If the deal closes, the filling stations would open in the first quarter of 2023. That would coincide with Nikola's launch of its Tre fuel-cell semi-truck, Bloomberg News reported.

TheStreet Quant Ratings has no rating for Nikola.

NIO | +11.62% 5-Day

NIO  (NIO) - Get NIO Inc. American depositary shares each representing one Class A Report reported big gains in their first-quarter deliveries. The company said it delivered 20,060 vehicles in the first quarter, up a record 423% from a year ago. It delivered 7,257 vehicles in March, a new monthly record and up 373% year-over-year.

The Chinese electric vehicle maker was a volume leader this past week with 92,190,700 shares traded.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates NIO as a Sell with a rating score of E+.

Lordstown Motors | +12.72% 5-Day

Lordstown Motors  (RIDE) - Get Lordstown Motors Corp. Report slumped this past week after Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of the electric vehicle maker over concerns about an increasingly competitive EV market. Lordstown fell nearly 4% to $9.38.

Analyst Mark Delaney cut Lordstown Motors rating to neutral from buy, while cutting his price target to $10 from $21.

The company suffered a setback this past week after its pickup truck, Endurance, failed to complete a race in Baja, Mexico. Delaney said the recent issues with the Baja race "suggests to us that there could be more development work to do on the powertrain than we had expected."

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Lordstown Motors.

XPeng | +0.99% 5-Day

Xpeng  (XPEV) - Get XPeng Inc. American depositary shares each representing two Class A Report debuted the Xpeng P5 smart sedan this past week, which the Chinese electrical vehicle maker said is the world’s first mass-produced smart EV equipped with automotive-grade LiDAR technology.

The Xpeng P5 is the company's third production model. LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is a system that helps provide visibility for autonomous vehicles.

TheStreet Quant Ratings has no rating for Xpeng.

Plug Power | +12.99% 5-Day

A securities fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Plug Power Inc.  (PLUG) - Get Plug Power Inc. Report on behalf of those who purchased or acquired Plug securities between November 9, 2020, and March 1, 2021.

"Plug Power had accounting issues and we need to get to the bottom of them," Cramer said this past week during the "Mad Money Lightning Round." 

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Plug Power as a Sell with a rating score of D.

QuantumScape | +20.10% 5-Day

QuantumScape  (QS) - Get QuantumScape Corporation Class A Report shares rose this past week after the company's shares nosedived on the heels of a scathing report from activist short-seller Scorpion Capital that branded the company as a "pump and dump SPAC" scam.

The company has been one of the most successful de-SPAC investments to date. Shares of the company, based in San Jose, Calif., were up 2.12% to $36.61 at the last check after tumbling in the previous session.

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for QuantumScape.

Canoo | +16.99% 5-Day

Electric vehicle maker Canoo Inc  (GOEV) - Get Canoo Inc. Report announced this past week that it was appointing Tony Aquila, its executive chairman and one of its largest investors, to the role of chief executive.

Aquila is a former software CEO who joined Canoo in October. He immediately replaces Ulrich Kranz, who co-founded the company and will be leaving his post at the end of the month. "Any company that's young and at this age is fine-tuning its strategy," Aquila told Reuters in an interview. "This is an evolution story."

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Canoo.

Fisker | +7.43% 5-Day

Fisker  (FSR) - Get Fisker Inc. Class A Report tumbled this past week after Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of the electric vehicle maker over concerns about an increasingly competitive EV market. Fisker shares were falling 10.5% to $13.56.

Analyst Mark Delaney said in a research note he was downgrading Fisker to sell from neutral and cutting his price target to $10 from $15. Analysts at Bank of America this past week initiated coverage of Fisker with a buy rating and a $31 price target.

Delaney added that Fisker also "announced a plan for a unique follow-on vehicle with Foxconn that could enter the market around 4Q23, but by the time this vehicle may be ramping, the competitive landscape could be even more challenging."

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Fisker.

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