What happened

Shares of startup electric truck maker Nikola (NKLA -0.10%) rose 36% in August, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. It was a noticeable turnaround from July, when shares fell 55.6%.

The company's performance was better in the first half of August, with shares rising 53.2% through Aug. 14. After that, they declined 11.2% between the 14th and the 31st. Despite a lot of volatility, Nikola's shares have had an amazing run so far in 2020, and are still up nearly 250% year to date.

A car silhouette made out of green leaves.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

It was something of a quiet month for Nikola, which is interesting considering it issued its first-ever earnings report on Aug. 4. However, since Nikola currently has no revenue -- it's not expected to start producing trucks until late 2021 -- the report wasn't particularly enlightening. In fact, it was more notable for the lack of concrete news, like the announcement of a manufacturing partner for its Badger electric pickup truck. 

Perhaps the biggest news of the month was the company's Aug. 10 announcement that trash hauler Republic Services had put in an order for 2,500 battery-electric garbage trucks, to be delivered in 2023. However, that's three years out, and with no other significant developments occurring, investors seem to have begun to get antsy and sold off the stock. 

Now what

The old saying is that no news is good news, but in this case, it's just no news. A prolonged spell of no news might concern investors that the company's initial product launch schedule was in jeopardy, but for now, there's no material change to the thesis for Nikola.

It's worth remembering, though, that Nikola is a risky startup in a hot industry, so shares are likely to be volatile for the foreseeable future.