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Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ: RIVN), the budding electric vehicle maker, initially bank-rolled by the likes of Ford (NYSE: F) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), is currently trading 80% lower than its peak since listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Bear in mind that Rivian was listed on the Nasdaq in November 2021, when you had to be very unlucky not to make money in the stock market, especially as a company working in the electric vehicle domain. In a sign of the jubilant (and bygone?) era, within days of listing, investor exuberance had pushed RIVN up by 115%, to US $170 per share. RIVN’s market electricity has fizzled in the following five months and could do with a recharge.

The Rivian stock price is currently trading very close to an all-time low, at US $37.00, 80% lower than its all-time high. In contrast, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), a company which Rivian investors hope can be emulated, is trading 25% lower than its all-time high (US $1,200 vs US $900), which it reached in November 2021 (roughly the same time Rivian reached its all-time high).

RIVN D1

RIV only just begun

As illustrated by its latest earnings call, Rivian has a momentous scope for growth.

In its Full Year 2021 earnings call, which was released on March 10, 2022, Rivian reported its first bout of revenue, a tiny US $55 million against a cost of revenue of US $520 million and other operating expenses (mainly R&D and administration) of US $3.7 billion. Consequently, Rivian reported a total net loss (inclusive of all costs) of US $4.7 billion for the full year.

The massive discrepancy between the company’s revenue and costs is a natural part of its growing pains. The automobile industry’s huge barrier to entry means that Rivian expects to be making a net loss for some time. However, it does expect to be profit-neutral by the end of the next financial year, and this might be what is more important for investors following the company.

No fast-charging solution

Rivian is still valued at over US $30 billion and far from a bust. However, it will perhaps take years for the company to charge its stock price back up to its IPO price of US $78.00. Even in the age of outsized valuations for EV companies and some residual investor exuberance in the market, investor confidence is butting up against obstacles such as the infamous chip-shortage affecting numerous car companies and tightening monetary policy from the US Federal Reserve.

To hasten the process and to overcome some of these obstacles on its way back to its IPO price, Rivian may have make better use of its US $18 billion cash reserve and carve out more than its planned 10% takeover of the EV market by 2030.

As it stands, Rivian’s total theoretical capacity at its two factories (600K) could garner 10% of the 2021 electric vehicle market. However, By 2030, electric vehicles sales are predicted to account for 1-in-2 vehicles sold, from a current 1-in-10. To account for 10% of all EVs sold in 2030, Rivian will have to boost production capacity to approximately 3 million vehicles per year.

For interest, Rivian generated its 2021 revenue of US $55 million on delivery of 2500 electric vehicles. The company’s guidance for 2022 expects to deliver 25K vehicles, which is a huge increase on its current production numbers, but fantastically far from the number of pre-orders on its books (83K) and unimaginably far from its 10% goal of 3 million.

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Block Inc (NYSE: SQ), the point-of-sale payment provider formerly known as Square, is reporting its Q4 2022 earnings this Thursday, February 24. 

What to expect with SQ stock earnings report?

The usual market dynamic of ‘good report = stock price rise’ and ‘bad report = stock price fall’ may not be entirely appropriate to expect after the report’s release.

As we have seen over the past month, a favourable earnings report does not necessarily mean that the market will respond favourably in turn. For one, when Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) reported its impressive Q4 2022 results on February 16, its stock proceeded to sell-off. As of writing, NVDA is down 12% since its earnings call as investors were all too happy to overlook its earnings beats and strong guidance for the next quarter.

On the flip side, an unfavourable report can sink SQ stock considerably more than at any time in the past. Investors have little patience for growth tech stocks at the moment, with US Federal Reserve rate hikes just around the corner and post-covid revenue surges seemingly coming to an end.

Will SQ suffer a similar fate to PYPL?

PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL), a leading competitor of Block, reported its own Q4 2021 earnings report three weeks ago, on the first day in February this year. While PYPL beat earnings expectations, its dismal guidance for Q1 2022 has helped tank the stock price 46% in 2022, YTD. 

As of writing, SQ is not far off PYPL’s shocking price retreat. SQ’s stock price has lost 40% of its value, YTD. 

An unfavourable report may push this loss into the 50s or even the 60s. Tech stocks dropping more than 20% in a single trading day is not unheard of this year, as you may have seen Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB) trim 25% (USD 230 billion) from its market cap on February 3.

Is there a buying opportunity with SQ stock?

According to several investment banks and analysts, including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, SeekingAlpa and MarketBeat, an even greater rout in the SQ’s share price may set investors up for a great long-term buying opportunity. SeekingAlpha and MarketBeat have price targets in the mid USD 200 range, which represent substantial upside potential.

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Russian de-escalation sharply moving markets

Several equities have reacted sharply over Tuesday trading to the suggestion that Russia is de-escalating its presence on the Russia/Ukraine border.

As reported by Reuters, Russia has begun to move an undisclosed number of its troops away from the Ukrainian border after completing mock defence exercises. Even so, tensions have not entirely dissipated. NATO, US, and UK officials remain cautious of the situation, with Boris Johnson noting that "the intelligence that we're seeing today is still not encouraging".

The markets have been more eager to embrace talk of de-escalation.

European Equities spent Tuesday rebounding sharply. The STOXX Europe 600, which is comprised of 600 stocks across 17 European exchanges, broke a three-day losing streak and rose 1.43%.

On an individual bourse level, the Italian stock market Index, the IT40, led the way back into positive territory, up 2.17% over the trading day. The German (DAX30) and French (CAC40) indices followed closely, each climbing ~1.9%, and the UK's FTSE100 climbed up 0.98%.

US stocks reacted in a similar manner when they opened a few hours after Europe. The US market has recently closed where the NASDAQ rose 2.24%, the S&P500 rose 1.36%, and the Dow Jones rose 1.06%.

Commodities also make significant moves on news that Russia is de-escalating.

Naturally, commodities would be significantly affected by a war between Russia and Ukraine and NATO affiliated nations that have reacted the sharpest.

WTI and Brent have pulled back a shocking 3.7% and 3.4%, respectively. On Monday, Brent oil prices were pushing their way up to USD 100 per barrel after crossing USD 95 per barrel. Before the turnaround in the oil price, talk of USD 110 per barrel was beginning to filter into market predictions.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the largest exporters of Wheat. As such, supply concerns for the soft commodity have eased slightly, and with it, the price has pulled back from its two week high. Wheat is now trading down 2.63% to USD 7.8 per bushel. Low supplies could temper more downside for Wheat in Canada and the US.

Other major exports of the region are trading down on the easing tensions. Corn, Iron Ore, and Soybean are all trading down 2.86%, 1.37%, and 1.27%, respectively.

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