China's Electric Vehicle Stocks Jump After October Delivery Reports

Electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio Ltd. (NYSE: NIO) was on a tear again in Monday’s premarket session. Shares traded up about 10% following the company’s report on October sales.

For the month, Nio reported deliveries of 5,055 vehicles, a new monthly record and double the number of deliveries in October 2019. So far this year, Nio has delivered 31,430 vehicles, a jump of 111% compared to the first 10 months of last year.

The stock has performed far better than even those delivery numbers. For the year to date, Shanghai-based Nio’s stock is up more than 660%. Shares of U.S.-based Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) topped out at just below a 500% gain in mid-October, and shares closed Friday up about 365% for the year. Tesla delivered 139,300 vehicles in the third quarter.

EV stocks have been on a tear this year. In late August, Nio sold about 102 million American depositary shares (ADSs) for $17.00, a discount of about 8% to the stock’s closing price on the day before the sale. That slowed the price increase for almost a month before shares took off again.

In mid-October, Citigroup and JPMorgan both raised their ratings on Nio stock to the equivalent of Buy. Citi raised its price target from $18.10 to $33.20 and JPMorgan raised its target from $14 to a street high of $40. Both firms cited Nio’s expected performance in the Chinese market and lower battery costs in the upgrades.

In late April, Nio traded at less than $4 a share. And that followed a February investment of some $1.4 billion by the municipal government of Hefei, where Nio’s main operations are located. The provincial government and other investors pumped another $990 million into a new subsidiary, Nio China, in what was widely treated as another bailout.

In July, six Chinese banks delivered an unsecured line of credit to the company totaling another $1.4 billion. The banks and government support have made it clear to investors that Nio will get all the help it needs until it can stand on its own. With the cash in hand and the virtual promise that the well would never run dry, a lot of the risk is gone and investors have recognized a good deal when they see one.

Nio’s stock traded up more than 8% Monday morning, at $33.09 in a new 52-week range of $34.94 to $1.58, and the consensus price target is $19.35.

Another Chinese EV maker, Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ: LI) reported October deliveries of 3,692 vehicles. The company has delivered 21,852 vehicles so far this year. Investors took the stock up more than 7% on the news to $21.64, in a 52-week range of $14.31 to $24.48. Its consensus price target is $19.73.

A third China-based EV maker, XPeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV) delivered 3,040 EVs in October and has delivered a total for the year to date of 17,117 units. The stock has added nearly 9% to trade at $21.08 in Monday’s premarket. The 52-week range is $17.11 to $25.00, and the price target is $24.64.