Can Nikola Stock Rise Again?

Barely a month since fraud allegations leveled the Tesla competitor, Nikola Motors is looking to get its engines running once again

Oct. 8, 2020

It is a very dangerous time for Nikola Motors (NASDAQ: NKLA) right now as it reels from a host of controversial issues that have seen its stock price fall 48% in the past month alone. 

However, shares are up almost 10% this morning following analyst predictions that it could soar a further 70% from current levels. 

Will Nikola stock rise soon?

This seems very unlikely given the sheer magnitude of problems Nikola is facing right now.

Having previously been the darling of Wall Street — and at one point worth more than Ford — a report from Hindenberg Research released on September 10 accused the revenue-less company of being “an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies”. 

Highlights include:

  • An accusation that a video titled “Nikola One In Motion” showing the truck moving down a highway at speed involved the truck being towed to the top of a hill and then filming rolling down it. 
  • Questions around Milton’s brother Travis’ lack of experience and qualifications in the field. He is the Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure. 
  • Questions over its German production line. 

Soon after, Executive Chairman and founder Trevor Milton stepped down and was later confronted with sexual assault accusations, tanking Nikola stock further.

Get a complete rundown here.

Some analysts are still bullish 

Despite being down in the past month, Nikola stock is still up a whopping 150% year-to-date (YTD), including an impressive three-session run last week which saw it gain 36%. 

Much of this is down to a recent update by Nikola management in which they stuck to their guns with a plan to become a leader in zero-emissions transportations, as well as unveiling plans to complete five prototype Nikola Tre BEV trucks at the IVECO JV facility over the coming weeks. What’s more, Nikola expects to test these vehicles on the road in Germany by year-end, with production shipments on track for a late 2021 start. 

Let’s hope they actually start the vehicles and not just roll them down a hill…

All the while, Nikola has been trying to close out a lucrative partnership with General Motors, which still appears to be in play. The deal sees Nikola sell 47.7 million shares of common stock to GM in exchange for services provided, and puts one of the world’s largest automakers in league with a potential Tesla disruptor. However, it is unlikely that those terms of the deal will remain given the collapse in Nikola’s status, so GM is likely to receive a greater stake as compensation. 

Analysts believe that between cutting the weeds out of the business (Milton) and getting GM to sign on the dotted line, the company can get back on track and meet its targets.

But getting investors back on board could be a harder task ahead of its upcoming stock lock-up ending.

What is a stock lock-up?

An IPO lock-up is a period, typically 90 to 180 days, after an IPO during which time company shares cannot be sold by insiders.

What does Nikola’s stock lock-up ending mean?

Nikola’s stock lock-up ends on November 30, meaning that CEO Mark Russell is in a race against time to convince insiders that they don’t need to dump all of their shares and that the business has a future. 

This race will hit a pivotal crossroads today, Thursday, October 8, as Nikola hosts an event to explain its in-house hydrogen technology to attendees at the virtual Mission Hydrogen conference. The summit draws together some leading industry names such as Hyundai, BP, and government energy officials from the U.S.

It’s hard to see how Nikola will convince investors that it is anything but a Theranos-on-wheels right now, but should it get GM on board with a clear plan in place, who knows? Anything is possible.

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