|Day's range||515.00 - 518.15|
(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. has been a trailblazer for direct-to-consumer sales, but the path for other electric-vehicle startups is still pretty thorny.Plug-in truck maker Rivian Automotive Inc., which aims to begin selling its R1T pickup and R1S SUV late this year without a franchised dealer network, had hoped to build its first store in Colorado, where Tesla has three. But almost a year after raising the idea with state legislators, it’s still lobbying them -- with EV enthusiasts and car dealers lining up to testify for and against.Rivian will instead open its first showrooms in California, which makes it easier for newcomers than most other states that have tough, decades-old franchise laws designed to protect car dealers.Tesla has spent years lobbying states to loosen or sidestep these laws, which ban car manufacturers from owning or operating their own stores. Tesla, which sells cars at fixed prices online, now has showrooms or galleries –- spaces to display vehicles without technically selling them -- in 28 states. It did that largely by finding loopholes and negotiating deals limited to its own business.The Model 3 maker reached a settlement last month in the home state of General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. when a Michigan court effectively allowed Tesla to bypass laws preventing most auto manufacturers from selling directly to consumers.To pry open the door further, Rivian is waging a state-by-state campaign on behalf of its operations and those of others to come. The effort is led by Jim Chen, a former Tesla lobbyist who’s now vice president of public policy at the Michigan-based startup.“These laws were never intended to shut out competition between different brands,” Chen said by phone last month. “A manufacturer should freely be able to choose whether it wants to enter the franchise system or sell directly.”Dealers, of course, feel differently. They say cars aren’t suited for online-only sales and that franchise laws protect consumers. Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association and a vocal Tesla critic, helped kill Rivian’s proposal last year, which would have allowed any company solely making EVs to sell them in Colorado without dealers.“We don’t want to further broaden, or further make accessible the factory-to-consumer direct sales model,” Jackson said in an interview last month. “We prefer, of course, the franchise model.”Jackson was back at the legislature in Denver on Feb. 18 with a posse of dealers to thwart Rivian’s latest proposal, which would expand the carve-out to any car manufacturer with EVs to sell. The bill has survived in the state senate so far, in part with new language that addresses dealers’ fears by reiterating their exclusive rights to sell existing brands in specific geographic areas.One might think Colorado, which became the 10th state to adopt California’s electric-vehicle mandate last September, would be relatively friendly territory for Rivian. But even with bipartisan sponsorship and the backing of newly elected Democratic Governor Jared Polis, passage seems far from assured.With an onslaught of new electric models coming from automakers like Ford and Volkswagen AG, dealers worry that such exceptions could give all manufacturers free rein to compete directly against them.Traditional carmakers are already beginning to shake up their retail models to sell EVs. Volkswagen announced Feb. 19 it’s using a new approach in Germany for its ID family of electric cars. Dealers will receive a commission and bonus but will no longer negotiate price or arrange financing or insurance -- an important profit source.Other startups intend to follow Tesla’s lead. California-based Lucid Motors Inc. wants to sell its luxury electric sedan, the Air, through its own network of stores.Rivian, which raised nearly $3 billion last year from investors including Amazon.com Inc. and Ford, has also introduced bills in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania. At the same time, it plans to open stores in friendlier states including California, Florida, Massachusetts and Utah, Chen said. The first ones will open around Los Angeles and San Francisco in the next year.Like Tesla, Rivian will allow people to set up a test drive, configure, order online and take home delivery.It’s also planning a subscription service that will include finance and insurance, following the lead of Porsche and Volvo Cars, Chief Executive Officer R.J. Scaringe said in an interview last month. Volvo dealers in California last year petitioned state regulators to investigate the company’s Care by Volvo program, arguing it violates franchise laws.The plan to service cars is still a bit opaque, leaving Rivian open to criticism that it can’t provide adequate maintenance for its vehicles. But Chen told legislators at the hearing in Denver this month that Rivian plans to establish service centers and mobile service teams -- like Tesla does -- and that it may rely on its strategic investors for help with infrastructure to distribute auto parts.The automotive arm of privately held Cox Enterprises Inc., which owns a stable of auto businesses including Kelley Blue Book and Manheim auction services, put $350 million into Rivian in September. That’s raised the hackles of some dealers, who share data and buy ads and used cars from Cox.“We do business with Cox Automotive,” said Thom Buckley, a Colorado dealer who testified at the hearing. “I’m very concerned about doing business with a vendor who will compete with us.”\--With assistance from Ed Ludlow.To contact the reporter on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday to establish the probable cause of a fatal March 2018 Tesla Autopilot crash in California and will issue a series of safety recommendations, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday. The safety board is expected to issue recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tesla and a California transportation agency, the sources said. The NTSB issued recommendations after other Tesla Autopilot crashes and planned to reiterate some of the guidance.
(Bloomberg) -- If the source of any of the resilience in U.S. stocks this year has been retail investors fired up by zero-commission trading, markets are about to find out how sturdy that money is.The sell-off stands as the first major test for mom-and-pop investors who, emboldened by a brokerage price-war, have effectively doubled their trades in equities over the last several months. The surge in interest from a group notoriously known for chasing winners has helped fuel a rally in stocks from tech giants to small-caps.The shares they love, from Tesla Inc. to Plug Power Inc., are plunging now, with a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. basket of retail favorites falling the most in nine months.“A lot of that money does tend to be hot money,” said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell. “It’s very sensitive to near-term losses.”Global markets buckled Monday, pushing the S&P 500 down almost 5% from its record close five days ago, the bull market’s biggest interruption in six months. Concern about a possible pandemic drove investors out of risky assets and into bonds and gold.Goldman’s basket tracking the 50 most-popular stocks among individual investors fell 3.9%, the biggest retreat since last May. All but two declined as Tesla and Plug Power each sank more than 6%. It’s a decisive turnaround for retail investors, whose picks as tracked by Goldman had surged 13% in 2020 before this week. That’s almost four times as much as the S&P 500.Though impossible to prove, a case exists that individual investors streaming into the market have contributed to the relative buoyancy of equities at a time when fixed-income has sent much more dire signals. The stock market rally that fell apart Monday came against a backdrop of steadily falling yields in Treasury markets that are dominated by institutional traders.Others see a perfectly ordinary bull market occurring in stocks that requires no special influence or agency to drive it and are skeptical individuals have played an outsize role. If anything, it’s bonds, not stocks, that are being boosted by small investors.“A lot of what is happening with bonds has to do with demographics,” said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Baird. “Baby Boomers are retiring, the world is starved for yields.” The equity market, on the other hand, “is really controlled by institutions. This up-and-down price action, that’s not retail money,” he said.The bull market, which turns 11 years old in two weeks, also predates the recent uptick in small-investor interest. At an all-time high last week, the S&P 500 traded at 19 times forecast earnings, the highest multiple since the dot-com era.Perhaps no other investor group than retail has a greater propensity to chase winners regardless of valuations and company fundamentals. Among retail’s darling stocks, 10 scored year-to-date gains exceeding 20%, including Plug Power, Tesla and Virgin Galactic. Yet only two made profits in 2019.While hardly the only ones to fall into love with megacap tech, their affection for Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. has likely contributed to a top-heavy market that some strategists have warned is becoming hard to sustain.It reminds Peter Cecchini of the retail over-involvement in the late 1990s that spelled the golden age of equities and foreshadowed the crash.“While retail involvement in and of itself is not always a sign of frothy markets, when that involvement generally appears to be based on a fear of missing out or otherwise uniformed decision-making, as now, then it is cautionary,” said Cecchini, chief global market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald LP. “The coronavirus may help demonstrate how quickly it can all come unraveled when fundamentals disconnect from the narrative hype.”Retail money, indifferent participants for much of the 11-year bull market, just made an epic comeback, lured by brokerages slashing commission fees to zero and an equity rally that added $7.5 trillion in market values last year. Daily average trades at E*Trade Financial Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. have almost doubled to all-time highs since last September, data compiled by Sundial Research showed.“History has shown that retail investors do respond to near-term volatility, so folks are rather fickle,” said Mike Skillman, chief executive officer of Cadence Capital Management. “If we see an increase in volatility in the next several weeks, flows into the market will slow down, if not reverse.”\--With assistance from Claire Ballentine.To contact the reporters on this story: Lu Wang in New York at email@example.com;Vildana Hajric in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at email@example.com, Chris Nagi, Richard RichtmyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday will convene its second hearing on a fatal crash involving Tesla Inc.’s automated driver-assist technology even though the pioneering automaker hasn’t filed formal responses to recommendations stemming from the first one more than two years ago.The NTSB in 2017 recommended that automakers including Tesla make their driver-assist systems more resilient to misuse by inattentive drivers, and limit the operation of those systems to only the driving for which they were designed.Automakers including Volkswagen AG, Nissan Motor Co. and BMW AG have told NTSB how their systems ensured driver engagement, which agency deemed acceptable responses. Tesla has had no formal correspondence with NTSB officials responsible for monitoring how safety recommendations are implemented, NTSB spokesman Chris O’Neil said.“It’s not the norm,” O’Neil said. “Most recommendation recipients respond in the prescribed 90-day window.”Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment but has said it’s updated Autopilot in part to issue more frequent warnings to inattentive drivers.The role of Tesla’s automated driver-assist features known as Autopilot, along with other factors including driver distraction and highway infrastructure, will be examined at an NTSB meeting on Tuesday regarding a March 2018 crash in Mountain View, California, that killed 38-year-old Apple Inc. engineer Walter Huang after his Tesla SUV slammed into a highway barrier while using Autopilot.The probe was marked by an unusually public display of tensions between the agency and Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk that peaked when the agency kicked Tesla off the probe after the CEO released information about the crash despite prohibitions against such disclosures during an investigation.The hearing could hold lessons for the auto industry as automated driving features are becoming increasingly common on new vehicles. Several other automakers have also equipped their vehicles with technologies that can provide automated steering, accelerating and braking, and some have installed systems to ensure drivers pay attention. General Motors Co. and Subaru Corp. use infrared cameras to track head and eye movement, and Nissan last year said it would include a similar driver-monitoring in a system designed to offer hands-free driving on the highway.Tesla has said Autopilot makes drivers safer, pointing to internal data it releases quarterly that it says demonstrates that drivers crash less frequently while using it than while driving manually. The company says drivers must remain attentive with their hands on the wheel while using Autopilot, which monitors by sensing steering wheel inputs by the driver.The company has said it has adjusted the the warnings drivers receive if their hands are off the wheel for too long, which federal investigators have faulted for being easy to sidestep.In 2017, the NTSB closed its first probe of a fatal crash linked to Autopilot by calling on companies to develop ways to better ensure drivers pay attention while using automated driving features that require human supervision. It also called on automakers to take steps to limit the use of automated driver-assist features to only the driving scenarios for which they’re designed.The recommendations stemmed from the agency’s probe of a 2016 crash in which former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown died after his Tesla Model S crashed into a commercial truck crossing the road in front of him on a Florida highway while using Autopilot. The agency cited an over-reliance on the car’s automation by Brown and a lack of built-in safeguards to prevent inattention as key factors that contributed crash.Last fall, the NTSB again cited inattention and Autopilot’s design in a January 2018 crash in which a Tesla driver rear-ended a parked fire truck on a freeway near Los Angeles. The agency said Autopilot’s design allowed the driver, who was uninjured in the crash, to stop paying attention to the road.After that crash, Tesla said it has updated Autopilot in part to issue more frequent warnings to inattentive drivers. The company has also been in regular contact with NTSB investigators and provided information about its systems to the agency, O’Neil said.“That doesn’t replace the need for formal responses to safety recommendations,” he said. “It’s a process designed to help us understand what they’re doing to implement those safety recommendations and what their progress toward them are, which may inform whether we feel other recommendations are necessary.”Records from the Mountain View investigation hint at several factors the NTSB could highlight during the meeting Tuesday. With Autopilot engaged and set to cruise at 75 miles per hour, Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X sped up and slammed into a concrete barrier. Vehicle data showed neither the driver nor the vehicle’s automatic systems applied the brakes prior to impact, the NTSB has said.Huang had complained that Autopilot had repeatedly veered his vehicle toward the same spot during earlier trips on that same stretch of highway, according to the agency. Data taken from his Tesla’s computer confirmed that the situation had occurred at the same location four days before the fatal crash and once more several weeks earlier, records released by the NTSB show.The tip of the concrete lane divider struck by Huang’s Tesla was supposed to have been protected by a crash attenuator, a device attached to highway infrastructure to absorb impact forces like a car’s crumple zone. It was damaged 11 days earlier and hadn’t been repaired by the California Department of Transportation before Huang’s crash.Records reviewed by NTSB found Huang was playing a game on his Apple-provided mobile device before the collision, the agency said, citing data transmission records. However, the data couldn’t show how engaged he was with the game or whether he was holding the device with both hands at the time of the crash, the NTSB said.Crash investigators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have opened 14 inquiries into Tesla crashes believed to involve Autopilot, plus 11 more involving other manufacturers with partial-automation systems.\--With assistance from Alan Levin.To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Beene in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Anyone paying attention to finance, markets and the economy doesn't have to look very hard to find complaints that we are on the cusp of a bubble of one type or another.Perhaps the area most often targeted by the bubble believers is tech. I was curious about just how widespread this belief is: “Tech bubble” has doubled on Google Trends this year alone; Google News generates more than 3.6 million hits for the phrase.(1)Defining a bubble isn't too hard and one will do as good as another. “A market phenomenon characterized by surges in asset prices to levels significantly above the fundamental value of that asset. Bubbles are often hard to detect in real time because there is disagreement over the fundamental value of the asset,” Nasdaq says. So let's turn to the pro-bubble argument: It has been a decade since the financial crisis and two decades since the dot-com implosion. That's enough time for people to have forgotten the trauma of that disaster. Since the Great Recession ended, there has been too much capital sloshing around, leading to excessive tech valuations. And not just in public equities, but in private markets, too. Unicorns and other SoftBank Vision Fund debacles have imploded, an early warning sign for publicly traded companies, the argument goes.Central banks have made the bubble worse, providing cheap capital that has artificially inflated profits. The bubble advocates also urge us not to overlook the impact of these low borrowing costs on the surge in share buybacks; reducing the total amount of a public company’s shares outstanding has the effect of making earnings per share look better.Then there are the anecdotes: Tesla’s stock has more than doubled in the past three months, and the company now has a market value of more than $165 billion -- higher than Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford combined. This is to say nothing of the companies valued at more than $1 trillion, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. But let's also be generous and acknowledge that some things do look overvalued, whether it's Bitcoin (maybe), WeWork (obviously) or Tesla (I'm not getting in the middle of that one).But here's the thing: None of that is proof of a stock-market bubble. Let's look at some themes and issues to demonstrate why this is so:Business models: In the 1990s, the internet captivated the collective imagination of investors, too many of whom indiscriminately threw cash at anything with dot-com attached to it. The 2000 collapse taught investors that it took more than a high-concept idea to make a stock worth buying: growth and future cash flow matter a lot, too. The collapse of WeWork’s initial public offering last year brought this home once again. Investors realized that renting out office space short term while locking the company into long-term, expensive real-estate leases was a terrible business model. Public investors grasped this flaw -- something private investors seemingly failed to understand -- and the market worked the way it's supposed to. Revenue and earnings: Unlike the dot-coms of the '90, today's tech businesses are gigantic cash machines. Apple posted fourth-quarter revenue of $91.8 billion and net income of $22.2 billion. Without much fanfare, Microsoft's revenue grew 14% in the latest quarter, to $36.9 billion, while net income surged 38% to $11.6 billion. Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook all continue to mint revenues and profits. These companies also have accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. This is not the profitless tech boom of the 1990s.Sentiment: Maybe there is some excessive optimism. But that isn't the same as the full-blown delusion that bubbles produce. Talk of bubbles is offset by chatter about recession: Remember that less a year ago investors were anticipating a downturn and in the fourth quarter of 2018 major market indexes fell 20%, meeting the normal definition of a bear market, however brief. Meanwhile, the American Association of Individual Investors Bullish Readings index is 40.6, which is just a hair above the average reading of 39.5 for the past 25 years.Performance: Broad market performance is robust, but not crazy. Last’s year's 31% gain in the S&P 500 is misleading: most of that simply reflected the rebound from the 2018 fourth-quarter tumble cited above.So let's take a step back and consider the S&P 500 since 2015: It has had annual gains of 11.8%, for a total cumulative five-year return of 75%. Before fintwits howl “Now do the Nasdaq,” here it is: 17.6% annually and cumulative total returns of 125%. Fine, good, but not bubble material.Now compare those figures with the five years before the market peaked in March 2000: The Nasdaq generated annual returns of 60% and a five-year total return of 946% during that period, while the S&P 500 gained 25% annually and 211% for the five years. This is obvious, right?Sure, there are pockets of excessive optimism and foolishness in markets. There always are. But there also are lots of companies that are not participating in this bull-market rally. Those who were around in the 1990s know what a real bubble looks like: This isn't it.(1) Some recent examples:Barron’s:"Tesla’s Manic Rally Isn’t the Only Sign of a Market Bubble. What You Need to Know"CCN:"An Epic Stock Market Crash Is Looming, Analysts Warn"Yahoo:"The stock market is on steroids and it could end up like the dot com bubble"Barron’s (again): "Is the Fed Building Another Stock Bubble?"Bloomberg: “Mom and Pop Are On Epic Stock Buying Spree Fueled by Free Trades”To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Tesla’s share price has almost tripled this year, and while electric cars remain the company’s most important product, it could actually become a real energy giant
(Bloomberg) -- Your sleek new Tesla Model S or electronic BMW has a distinctly 19th century feature that you may not be aware of, among its batteries. A company in Estonia wants to change that.Skeleton Technologies Group OU is working on supercapacitors, light-weight and long-life components that can distribute intensive bursts of power. These may help eliminate lead-acid batteries, a piece of technology invented in 1859 that still lurks under the hoods of Teslas in addition to the main lithium-ion power source.Supercapacitors have some way to go before they are widely adopted. There is still a gap with the popular lithium-ion units on how much energy they can store, Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Taavi Madiberk admits. Even so, the technology is promising for offering higher peak power output and reliability in extreme temperatures and Skeleton has already sold it to clients across the transport industry.“Sometimes people think that lead is a problem of the past because it relates to internal combustion engines but in practice all electric vehicles have 12-volt lead acid batteries,” Madiberk said. “We are working on a viable alternative to replace all lead acid batteries.“Musk’s PhDTesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk actually moved to Silicon Valley in the first place to do research on supercapacitors in his PhD studies at Stanford University, he wrote in a blog post in 2006. While Musk eventually dropped out from Stanford to start his new ventures, he hasn’t abandoned his bet on supercapacitors, also referred to as ultracapacitors.Tesla, also searching for a breakthrough for electric car batteries, bought Skeleton’s competitor Maxwell Technologies Inc. last year. Musk’s company, like other manufacturers, still uses the relatively cheap and recyclable lead-acid battery in addition to the lithium-ion unit.The sector is at a stage where the lithium-ion battery industry was around 1999, according to Madiberk, whose company also has a base in Germany. Back then, lithium-ion batteries cost over $5,000 per kilowatt hour, compared with under $200 now. Supercapacitors may similarly go from $5,000 to as low as $300, he said, without giving an exact timeline.The technology may be useful for some tasks such as regenerating energy from braking, perhaps in conjunction with a lithium-ion unit, said James Frith, an analyst at BloombergNEF who focuses on energy storage. However, it’s only one of a number of available routes for the industry.“There’s been a lot of interest in supercapacitors over the years,” Frith said. “The trouble is that lithium-ion batteries have been coming down in price quite rapidly.”To replace lead-acid batteries, Skeleton is cooperating with some major European carmakers, Madiberk said, without disclosing names. Its products reach an energy density -- a key measure of performance -- of 60 watt-hours per kilogram, exceeding regular lead-acid batteries. Their raw material, a patented graphene composite, provides cost advantages in the long term not just compared with lead-acid but also lithium-ion batteries, he said.Operating Profit“If you look at the supplies of cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese, then sooner or later with electrification we see significant bottlenecks,” Madiberk said. “The issue with lead is, of course, it’s toxic: the manufacturing process is environmentally harmful.”In heavy transportation, Skeleton has supplied systems that recuperate the braking energy of trams made by Czech manufacturer Skoda Transportation AS and which reduce the fuel consumption of hybrid-electric buses made by the U.K.’s Wrights Group Ltd. Having signed orders totaling more than 150 million euros ($163 million) last year, the company targets revenue of 1 billion euros by 2025 when it sees its serviceable market reaching about 60 billion euros. It expects to reach a profit on the operating level by the end of next year.Aside from Tesla, Madiberk lists U.S.-based AVX Corp. and China State Railway Group as key competitors. The raw materials Skeleton uses have given it a competitive advantage over the bigger rivals, he said.The company’s products had the highest power and maximum peak current from five supercapacitor makers, including Maxwell and Ioxus Inc., in last year’s study by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.Supercapacitors may find their niches if the cost becomes competitive, said Frith, the analyst at BloombergNEF.“The heavy transportation applications probably is the best use case for supercapacitors,” Frith said. “There definitely is a lot of areas within the automotive market where they could find applications.”To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at email@example.com, Andras GergelyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro will travel to the U.S. next month for the fourth time in a year with a pro-business agenda that includes trying to convince electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc. to set up a plant in the South American country.Bolsonaro’s visit will be on March 7-10 and his plans include attending a business seminar in Miami, according to the presidency’s press office. On Twitter, Bolsonaro said his “extensive agenda” consists of the possibility of Tesla building a factory in Brazil, without providing further details. The Palo Alto, California-based company didn’t immediately reply a request for comment.Since taking office last year, Bolsonaro has revamped his nation’s foreign policy by pursuing closer ties with the U.S. and its allies while eschewing multilateralism. In a major win for the South American president ahead of his trip, the U.S. on Friday lifted a ban on fresh-beef imports from Brazil that had been in place since 2017. Other victories for Bolsonaro came when the administration of President Donald Trump announced plans to promote Brazil’s bid to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and refrained from placing tariffs on Brazil’s steel.An encounter between Trump and Bolsonaro during his visit is almost a given, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters in Washington on Friday.“I would almost certainly expect him to be meeting with President Trump, they are friends, looking forward to the bilateral,” he said.Nicknamed by some as “Trump of the Tropics,” Bolsonaro has made his admiration of his U.S. counterpart no secret. The Brazilian president has repeatedly forecast Trump will win re-election this year and has even gone as far as broadcasting himself watching the U.S. head of state’s speeches.Read more: Brazilian President Streams Himself Watching Trump’s Iran SpeechWhile in the U.S., Bolsonaro will also participate in the event “Brazil-U.S. Business Relations in Florida” organized by export agency Apex. More than 300 business executives are expected to attend the seminar, which will feature presentations on Brazil’s economic outlook, business climate and efforts to privatize billions of dollars in state-controlled assets.The Brazilian presidency’s press office wasn’t immediately able to confirm whether or not Bolsonaro will meet Trump during the March trip.(Updates with U.S. decision to lift ban on Brazil beef imports in 3d graph.)\--With assistance from Dana Hull and Samy Adghirni.To contact the reporters on this story: Simone Iglesias in Brasília at firstname.lastname@example.org;Josh Wingrove in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at firstname.lastname@example.org, Matthew MalinowskiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Small investors are back. In a big way.Their fingerprints are on Apple Inc.’s staggering rally. They piled into Tesla Inc. as it tripled, and turned speculative fliers like Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. into some of the most heavily traded shares in the country. Why the enthusiasm? Some see a link to decisions by brokerages to cut commissions on trades to nothing.While it’s tough to know what’s causing what -- bull markets are fueled by new converts but also lure them -- trading volume at online and discount brokers has exploded. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., which started offering free trading in October, has seen million-trade days multiplying at a record pace.Along with E*Trade Financial Corp., daily average revenue trades -- a standard industry metric that may be a bit of a misnomer now since buying and selling is free -- have almost doubled to an all-time high since last September, data compiled by Sundial Research showed.“When you take a bull market and juice it with zero commission trading, we can expect it to generate interest among retail accounts. That, it did,” said Jason Goepfert, president of Sundial. “Retail traders have become manic.”Individual investors were seen as indifferent participants for much of the 11-year bull market. No more. The latest leg of their emergence times closely with October, when E*Trade, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade slashed commission fees to zero. Not that it’s firm proof of anything, but since the start of that month, the S&P 500 is up 12% and the Nasdaq 100 has surged 22%.Conversations with a handful of clients found lots of praise for zero-commission trades but mostly conservative purchases -- index funds and blue chips. Matt Hermansen, 23, who works for a concrete company in Oakland, California, said the absence of fees makes him more willing to trade.“I’ll invest smaller amounts. Before I never really invested anything less than $1,000, $500 minimum,” he said in a phone interview. “Now if I have enough to buy an extra share, I’ll do it. I’ll do like $300.”At TD Ameritrade, the number of days where the amount of trades topped 1 million reached 38 during the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, according to Steve Boyle, interim president and chief executive officer. That compares to 23 such days in all of fiscal year 2019.It’s “a new world in discount brokerage where price no longer clouds the comparison for trades,” Boyle said in an earnings statement on Jan. 21. By that date, the firm’s monthly volume had already risen 40% from a year ago, averaging 1.4 million trades per day.At E*Trade, similar trends has played out. Daily average revenue trades have increased 74% since the firm’s fee cut, Sundial’s data showed.Randy Frederick, a vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, says the surge in trading also reflects a growing confidence in the bull market. Indeed, from the coronavirus outbreak to Apple’s sales warning, nothing has been able to stop shares from marching higher.“It’s partially driven by free commissions, but I don’t think it’s just that, because not everyone is offering free commissions,” Frederick said. “The fact that we have been in a bull market for a long time, people are just optimistic. Things are going up and they continue to go up.”U.S. households are turning more optimistic on the stock market. According to the latest sentiment reading from the Conference Board, the share of respondents expecting stocks to rise in the next year advanced to 43.1% in January, the highest since October 2018.Hot stocks get the most attention. At TD Ameritrade, Apple, Microsoft Inc., Tesla and Virgin Galactic have been among the highly traded this year, according to JJ Kinahan, the firm’s chief market strategist. Shares of the two tech giants have climbed at least 9%, double the S&P 500’s gain. Tesla, Elon Musk’s automaker, and Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space-tourism company, have done even better, with triple-digit advances. Virgin Galactic, in particular, has seen retail investors talking up their positions on message boards like r/wallstreetbets on Reddit.“A lot of our millennial clients over the past six months were buyers of Tesla,” Kinahan said. “Younger people buy products they are familiar with, or more importantly, think are going to be viable products down the road,” he added. “It does make sense to say that some of these, maybe Virgin Galactic, may be a product that makes sense in 10 years.”For Peter Cecchini, chief global market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald LP, affection among retail investors for both tech stocks and loss-making companies is creating flashbacks to the internet frenzy in late 1990s.“There’s sometimes no fundamental reason for it. It just is based on perception -- a perception based on narratives that run only an inch deep,” he said in note. “Let’s see how much longer it persists. This kind of activity often unwinds much faster than the wind up.”(Updates prices in sixth paragraph)\--With assistance from Claire Ballentine and Esha Dey.To contact the reporters on this story: Lu Wang in New York at email@example.com;Vildana Hajric in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at email@example.com, Chris Nagi, Richard RichtmyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) shareholders (or potential shareholders) will be happy to see that the Founder, Elon Musk...
Hot Wheels will ship you a Cybertruck long before Tesla is likely to make any deliveries on their electric retro-future wheeled trapezoid: The toy maker just unveiled two different RC Cybertruck models, including a 1:64 scale model at just $20, and a much larger 1:10 scale version for $400.
Tesla Inc said it had resumed tree cutting in Gruenheide, Germany so it can construct its first European car and battery factory following moves by environmentalists to stop local deforestation. "Tree clearance is proceeding in an orderly manner," Tesla said on Friday. There were no environmentalists holding up the process, Tesla's spokeswoman Kathrin Schira said in a statement.
Everi, Franklin Electric, Tesla, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
Investing.com – SpaceX, the private space exploration and tourism company founded by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, is looking to raise $250 million in its next round of funding, according to a published report Friday.
(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. has overcome a legal roadblock standing in the way of Elon Musk’s plan to build an electric-car factory in Germany.A Berlin-Brandenburg court on Thursday ruled that Tesla can resume cutting down trees at a forest site in the small town of Gruenheide to make way for its first assembly plant in Europe. That puts the U.S. carmaker on track to start construction before the start of a crucial breeding period for local wildlife in March.The court found that local authorities didn’t violate laws when they allowed work on the factory to start, throwing out a complaint by Gruene Liga Brandenburg, an environmental group that claimed Tesla and local authorities were sidestepping regulations to rush the project.The decision is a boon to Tesla’s ambitious timetable to have the plant up and running by the middle of next year. The company plans to eventually produce as many as 500,000 cars a year at the site, employing 12,000 people and posing a serious challenge to Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG.Tesla shares were down about 1.8% to $883.21 in pre-market New York trading, from a close of $899.41 on Thursday. The stock has more than doubled this year, giving the company a market value of about $166 billion.Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, recently tried to ease local concerns about water usage at the plant, which would border a nature reserve.Local officials had warned that construction could be delayed by six to nine months if the forest isn’t cleared by mid-March. Tesla has already cut down two-thirds of the trees and should be able to fell the remainder in time.“It’s a good signal for environmental protection, jobs, and future technologies,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a statement. “We’ve learned that we’ll only have a chance in such significant projects if we can come to decisions in an appropriate time frame.”Brandenburg’s environment ministry this month gave Tesla a preliminary green light to start cutting down trees in an area equivalent to 100 soccer fields ahead of granting final approval. The court stopped the process with an injunction on Feb. 15. By late Thursday, the appeals court ruled that legal requirements to allow early construction were met.Gruene Liga has warned that Tesla’s plant could threaten the region’s water supply and overburden local transport infrastructure. The group argued that authorities shouldn’t have allowed the forest to start being cleared until after March 5, the deadline set for environmental groups to comment on the project.Local officials argue the site is an inferior pine forest planted to be harvested in the first place.The factory will be designed with “sustainability and the environment in mind,” Musk said last month on Twitter, adding Tesla will plant three new trees for every one cut. The company still needs final approval for the project from authorities in the state of Brandenburg.Tesla will also have to scare off or relocate wolves, bats, snakes, ants and lizards until construction is over. Under German regulations, the project must consider the breeding period for local wildlife in spring.(Updates with Economy Minister statement in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org;Stefan Nicola in Berlin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christopher Elser, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A year ago Richard Branson was on his private island, Necker, when the former Twitter executive Adam Bain came to see him with a proposal for how to take Branson’s suborbital space travel company public.The bearded British billionaire is doubtless glad he took the meeting: After an unsteady start, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.’s valuation has rocketed. The stock has surged more than 400% since a low in December, valuing the company at close to $8 billion, or almost 2,000 times the revenues it’s estimated to have generated in 2019. (For comparison, Uber Technologies Inc. trades on about 5.5 times last year’s revenue).Vieco USA, a Virgin-controlled entity, still owns more than half of the shares,(1) meaning Branson’s net worth — estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index at about $5 billion before the listing — is suddenly a whole lot bigger. The loss-making company is now his most valuable asset. There haven’t been any big company developments to justify such market euphoria, which makes you wonder whether it’s sustainable. The stock gains since the start of this year are about double those enjoyed by Tesla Inc.’s rip-snorting shares.Several hedge funds, including Suvretta Capital Management, which owns 3.4% of Virgin Galactic’s equity, have profited from the surge but plenty of its peers are betting that a meeting with cold reality is inevitable. About 30% of the free float has been shorted, according to IHS Markit data. This space battle isn’t for the fainthearted, and there’s a danger that overenthusiastic retail investors end up getting hurt. On Thursday, the stock rose as much as 13%, erased all those gains, then fell as much as 18%, before closing broadly unchanged.In fairness, Virgin Galactic’s technical achievements are impressive, even inspiring. Branson’s company has spent years perfecting its product, giving it a head start in the nascent space tourism business. At $250,000 a ticket for a 90-minute flight (including a few minutes of zero-gravity weightlessness) it could prove to be pretty lucrative. The company might have almost $600 million of yearly revenue by 2023, according to a management projection.But, as I’ve noted before, a lot can go wrong when your business is carrying tourists into suborbital space and twitchy regulators are poring over your every move. Any unexpected delays or interruptions (never mind an accident) would cause the stock to swiftly lose altitude.As with Elon Musk’s Tesla faithful, Virgin Galactic’s fans don’t seem too bothered by these near-term challenges. One hope among investors is that the company will use the technology and experience gained from ferrying tourists into space to build a potentially far more lucrative market: intercontinental hypersonic flight.Yet the regulatory hurdles to launching such flights will be daunting. Perfecting the technology will require much more than the $430 million in net proceeds that Virgin Galactic received from the listing.(2)It’s conceivable, then, that the huge run-up in the stock — if sustained — might tempt Branson to raise more money, just as Tesla did last week with a $2 billion stock offering. The investor enthusiasm shown for Branson’s company won’t have escaped Musk’s attention either. His Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has had no trouble raising money in private markets; it’s been valued at about $33 billion. But the Tesla founder is also considering a public offering of SpaceX’s internet offshoot, Starlink, in a few years, and any market fervor around space investing would make that easier. A hard landing for Virgin Galactic investors could change the dynamic.For now, Branson could afford to splash out on another private island if he wanted. Or maybe some acreage on the moon. (1) Vieco owns a 58.6% stake and Branson is the beneficial owner of 80.7% of that, according to this filing.(2) Virgin Galactic could receive a further cash boost if warrants conveying the right to purchase a total of 31 million shares are exercised for cash.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
China is not only the world’s top supplier of battery metals, but also the world’s top processor, and that means the country is vital to the electric vehicle revolution