What happened

Shares of Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) makers soared yesterday, and another earnings report has them surging in the premarket trading again today. After reporting its third-quarter results, shares of Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) are up 17% as of 9:20 a.m. EST. Others are also along for the ride. Shares of NIO (NYSE:NIO) and XPeng (NYSE:XPEV) are each up 6% on top of strong double-digit gains on Thursday.  

Recent data on deliveries from Chinese EV companies have had the stocks soaring, which was supported by Li Auto competitor XPeng reporting better-than-expected earnings yesterday. Today's results from Li Auto aren't quite as impressive, but they are enough for investors to keep driving the momentum in the Chinese company's stocks

rear view of Li Auto One

Li Auto One EV. Image source: Li Auto.

So what

Li Auto had already reported sequential monthly increases in third-quarter vehicle deliveries earlier this month. Those results reflected an overall trend of increasing EV sales in China. NIO reported it doubled its EV deliveries in October, compared to 2019. Year-to-date through October, NIO said deliveries are up 111% to 31,430. XPeng said its third-quarter vehicle deliveries jumped 266% compared with the prior-year period.

Those results reflect the overall trend in China. October Chinese new energy vehicles -- which include pure-battery EVs, fuel-cell cars, and plug-in hybrids -- rose 105%, to 160,000. Li Auto is participating in that growth, with revenue from vehicle sales jumping more than 28% just from the previous quarter. 

But in its first earnings report as a public company, Li Auto didn't overly impress on its financials. Like its rivals, Li Auto is not yet profitable, and its third-quarter net loss of $15.7 million was 42% higher than its second-quarter loss. 

Now what

But the trend is clear, and investors are getting on board all of the publicly traded options. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) predicts sales of new energy vehicles will rise to 1.1 million this year. 

Li Auto is expanding its network in the country. As of Oct. 31, 2020, the company had 41 retail stores across 36 cities. Its Li One SUV is an electric vehicle that attempts to address battery range anxiety. It markets its vehicle as an "extended-range" EV, as it has the ability to recharge its batteries from a small gasoline engine onboard. 

The company believes sales will continue to grow in the near term. It estimates fourth-quarter deliveries of between 11,000 and 12,000 units, representing an increase of 33% over the third quarter at the midpoint. 

Investors have been noticing and driving up shares recently. In just the past month, shares of Li Auto, NIO, and XPeng are up 91%, 133%, and 136%, respectively. Today looks like it will be a continuation of that off of the latest earnings results. 

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