The electric vehicle (EV) trade has finally cooled off, which is a good thing given how far it had run. It would be hard for Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to justify a trillion dollar market capitalization or for these revenue-less SPAC stocks to keep soaring higher. Meanwhile, Nio (NYSE:NIO) is somewhere in between, with NIO stock performing quite well but not exactly on Tesla’s level.
At least, not yet.
In order to get there, the company will need to continue its domestic expansion in China and work on expanding globally. Tesla has been trading pretty well lately as it works on consolidating its massive gains over the last 18 months.
For Nio, though, the charts aren’t all that great right now. Combined with a high valuation, that has me on guard with the stock. For Nio, it needs the technicals to work in its favor in order for the stock to be attractive.
Trading Nio Stock
A look at the chart highlights the recent struggles for Nio stock. Shares bottomed in early May along with most other growth stocks, as the bear market in this group came to end.
Nio ripped back toward $55 and the 61.8% retracement, but ultimately failed to hold those gains. It later failed to hold its major moving averages, while giving us an “ABC” correction down to the weekly VWAP measure.
This measure had been decent support throughout 2021.
However, after its rally back to the 21-day and 21-week moving averages, NIO stock gave us the “D” leg of that correction, resulting in the recent flush lower. We now see the stock below the weekly VWAP reading, as bulls scramble to see whether Nio can find its footing
If it can, we need to see Nio stock reclaim the August low at $36.24, as well as the weekly VWAP level. As of now, it’s currently undergoing a “monthly-down rotation” so long as it’s below $36.24. Back above those measures, and the high $30s could be in play.
On the downside, though, it’s possible we see the $31 to $32 area again. This area has been support twice amid two nasty corrections in Nio stock this year.
As a whole, Nio stock has been a leader amid growth stocks when the group is hot. But it has not done too well lately and it shows on the charts. So if the overall market struggles, this stock may too.
Breaking Down Nio
So many people will point to the fundamentals of a company like Nio without taking into consideration the valuation. Granted, I don’t put a lot of weight in the valuation either. At one point, valuations played a much larger role in the way that stocks behaved.
However, I think a few things have altered some of that Benjamin Graham thinking.
First, tech stocks blew the market wide open. No longer were companies having to follow traditional paths with only decent margins. Now software companies can routinely generate massive profit margins, while the tangible addressable markets (TAM) are significantly larger.
That’s allowed valuations to expand as well.
Second, the Fed’s low-rate and easy-money policies have forced investors to plow funds into equities. The returns in bonds (particularly internationally) and fixed income have dried up, forcing investors to chase returns in growth stocks — like Nio.
Is it healthy? Not necessarily, but this has been our reality for quite some time and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.
I’m not calling for some great reckoning. A stock like Nio can continue to go up as long as it continues to deliver. But that remains a question mark.
While the company reported solid quarterly results last month, Nio’s July and August monthly auto deliveries disappointed investors. Furthermore, Nio was forced to trim its third-quarter delivery expectations.
Throw in Nio’s plan to raise $2 billion in stock, and it creates even more pressure on the stock price.
The Bottom Line on NIO Stock
It’s not that I have any specific gripe against Nio, but the facts are simple. For an automaker, the stock commands a high valuation and the company doesn’t have enough momentum in its underlying business right now. Thus, we need to see beat-and-raise quarters and delivery results in order to spur the stock higher. In line and disappointing results aren’t going to cut it.
Second, the charts don’t look very good. Back above $36.25 and my tone will change a bit. Otherwise, I remain defensive on Nio stock for the time being.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell.