Shares of electric-vehicle (EV) related companies traded mixed on Thursday, with investors trying to decide where to put money in the sector. Shares of MP Materials (MP 4.35%), miner of rare-earth materials used for EV battery technology, soared 20% this morning before settling back to a gain of 12% as of noon EST.
Similarly, shares of EV solid-state battery maker QuantumScape (QS 4.10%) were up 10% early before giving back all of those gains. But shares of Hennessy Capital Acquisition (HCAC), which is holding a shareholder vote to merge with EV maker Canoo next week, were trading down 6%.
Why the mixed bag? James Litinsky, CEO of MP Materials made an appearance on CNBC's Mad Money last night. Investors heard why he believes his company is set to prosper from the growth in EVs.
But many stocks in the EV sector have had outsized runs recently, and even an announcement from Canoo today about plans for a new vehicle isn't enough to continue that trend.
Canoo unveiled its electric multi-purpose delivery vehicle today, aiming for the last-mile and package delivery fleet markets. The fully electric vehicle will be made on Canoo's proprietary skateboard steel frame platform to maximize cargo space. The company said it will start at $33,000.
But Canoo is one of several new EV automakers hoping to make inroads in the niche delivery market. Battery technology companies like QuantumScape, and supplier MP Materials, are more neutral as to which EV companies succeed.
Last night, Litinsky said his company is the "picks and shovels play" for the growing EV market. "We're agnostic to whatever OEM wins ... any of them, you know, we want all of them to be successful," he said in the interview.
Investors who have driven up valuations for aspiring EV makers seem to like that MP Materials will benefit regardless of which specific vehicle manufacturer prospers. While QuantumScape shares also got a boost at first this morning, the stock is up 185% since it started trading publicly less than a month ago. It should be considered speculative until it establishes that its promising battery technology will be embraced by the industry.