Shares of embattled electric-vehicle start-up Faraday Future Intelligent Electric (FFIE 6.38%) were trading lower on Monday, a day ahead of a "business update" presentation that could deliver grim news to investors.
As of 11:30 a.m. ET, Faraday's shares were down about 8.6% from Friday's closing price.
There's a bit of a backstory to this one. Back in October, a short-selling firm issued a report on Faraday that called into question key parts of its story, including its claim to have received preorders for over 14,000 vehicles. That was enough to send the stock down sharply, as electric vehicle investors remain mindful of the grim examples of Nikola and Lordstown Motors, both of which fell sharply after independent investigations showed that similar short-seller reports turned out to be largely true.
Obviously, it's one thing to get a report from a short-seller, another to have the company itself say that some or all of the allegations in the report were accurate. To be clear, Faraday hasn't done that yet.
But it did postpone filing its third-quarter earnings report, saying that it had formed a special committee of independent directors to investigate the short-seller's allegations. And last week, it said that it will provide a "business update" to investors after the U.S. markets close tomorrow, Dec. 7.
That doesn't seem to bode well, and that's why the stock is down today.
It's possible, of course, that Faraday's directors will say that they investigated and found that everything is on the up and up. But that seems unlikely to me. If a short-seller's claims are nonsense, the best strategy is probably to just say that and move on.
But if they're not nonsense, if some or all of the allegations are true, that requires some explaining, the kind of explaining you'd do in a carefully scripted presentation after the markets are closed.
We'll find out tomorrow afternoon.