Shares of many companies in the electric-vehicle space had a tough Monday, including high-flyer Rivian Automotive (RIVN 3.66%). Those stocks were caught in the broad market sell-off triggered by the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, as well as the delta variant spike already underway. Traders appear to have been worried that this new wave of COVID-19 cases could compel governments to initiate another round of protracted shutdowns.
Here's where these popular EV stocks closed on Monday relative to their closing prices on Friday.
- EVgo (EVGO 4.54%) -- down about 5.2%.
- Lordstown Motors (RIDE 2.90%) -- down about 8.2%.
- Lucid Group -- down about 5.1%.
- Nikola -- down about 7.3%.
- Nio -- down about 6.1%.
- Rivian -- down about 7.9%.
- Tesla -- down about 3.5% (and just under $900, at $899.94).
- Workhorse Group (WKHS 5.00%) -- down about 8.9%.
Anyone who has paid attention to electric-vehicle stocks (or any auto industry stocks) since early 2020 can probably understand why traders were concerned. Pandemic-related factory shutdowns have been interfering with auto-sector supply chains for much of the last two years, costing automakers billions of dollars in lost production and sales.
While some automakers recently reported improving supplies of key components like semiconductors, the speed with which the omicron variant is spreading has raised fears that it might lead to new manufacturing disruptions and further shortages.
Obviously, that would be a bearish catalyst for just about all of the electric vehicle makers on our list. The possible exception is Tesla, which has adapted relatively well to shifting conditions in the chip market this year by (among other things) revamping some of its vehicles' circuits to make use of substitute chips.
But if suppliers' factories shut down for extended periods, the possibility of further declines for the rest of the group is real. Consider that Rivian's high-flying shares have fallen sharply since it delivered its earnings report on Dec. 16, at which time it warned that it would miss its (extremely modest) 2021 production goal because of exactly these kinds of supply chain issues.
And while EVgo isn't an automaker, its stock and its fortunes will rise and fall with those of the electric-vehicle industry as a whole. If auto production is disrupted significantly by omicron (or future COVID-19 variants), investors can expect EVgo's shares to suffer.
Now what indeed? I think what comes next will depend on whether the omicron surge passes relatively quickly or turns out to be deeply disruptive. Further disruptions would be bad news for many of these EV stocks -- but it's worth noting that if the market's current fears turn out to be overblown, there could be quite a rally in speculative growth stocks like these.