The ten-car pileup that is electric vehicle startup Nikola (Nikola Stock Quote, Chart, News NASDAQ:NKLA) may be a sight to behold, leaving investors wondering if there’s an opportunity in the plunging share price.
But portfolio manager Darren Sissons says to look away, as there’s clearly too much risk involved in the company and stock at the moment.
News broke earlier this week that Nikola founder Trevor Milton was stepping down from his CEO and board member roles after the release on September 10 of a short-seller’s report which cried foul on some of the company’s statements about its electric vehicle technology.
It has since been reported that both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are now looking into the matter.
Nikola’s share price has been cut in half during the month of September, a drop which itself was preceded by a summer which saw significant share price reductions. All of that comes after Nikola’s incredible debut as a public company in early June, which saw the stock double literally overnight amid positive sentiment surrounding the company’s fortunes.
Nikola had said earlier this year that it would start taking orders for its Badger pickup truck and by September, the company had secured a partnership with General Motors valued at $2 billion. But that positive momentum has disappeared, along with a reported potential deal with energy giant BP, causing investors to flee the stock in droves.
The drop in share price may been seen as a chance for savvy investors to swoop in but Sissons, vice-president and partner at Campbell, Lee and Ross, argues otherwise.
“There are just so many different opportunities ahead of us in terms of electric vehicles. For example, if the hydrogen electron production capabilities are ramped up then, really, it’s a question of what alternative are we going to look at,” Sissons said, in conversation with BNN Bloomberg on Thursday.
“The valuation on Nikola is just extremely high,” Sissons said. “There are other alternatives and Big Auto is going to come up with their own alternative, so why do you need to pay such a high price for something that you probably can get at a much cheaper price somewhere else?”
This week, Wedbush brought out a “Sell” rating for Nikola , saying Milton’s departure and the rise of competition in the vehicle batter space will be a problem for the company.
“The recent questions surrounding the Nikola story raised by the bears will be a dark cloud over the stock until answered, especially with no fundamental or delivery catalysts in the near-term,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives in a report.
Sissons says Nikola is also a pass for him.
“If you’re looking to trade, by all means go ahead and trade it —maybe use options, go ahead and do whatever you’re doing— but for long-term value and for a long-term investment approach of two to five years, there’s just too much risk there, and so I would not buy it at all,” Sisson said.