Electric truck start-up Rivian (RIVN -2.35%) stock is up a strong 4.4% as of 11:45 a.m. ET Tuesday on some very curious news.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Rivian's chief operating officer, Rod Copes, left the company in December. And while the Journal relayed a comment from the company that this departure was "planned for months," not only has there not yet been a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing about it, at the time the Journal wrote its story, it pointed out that "Mr. Copes was still identified on Rivian's website as the company's operations chief."
Rivian has since removed Copes' bio from its website.
Viewed even in the best light, that's some serious mixed messaging investors are getting from Rivian this week, and yet, the stock is responding positively today. Why is that?
Well, a couple of reasons.
Although Rivian hasn't yet put out a statement about Copes' departure, it has just filed with the SEC an update on its production progress. "By the end of 2021," says the company, Rivian had "produced 1,015 vehicles" and delivered 920 of them to its customers.
Investors so far seem to be accentuating that positive news, and eliminating any concerns about who is running Rivian. And helping them to make this decision are two notes out from Rivian's fans on Wall Street.
In one note, Japanese investment bank Mizuho recites Rivian's declaration that Copes' departure "had been planned for some time." Furthermore, advises StreetInsider.com, Mizuho reiterates its faith that "RIVN continues to progress to the next stage of its global expansion," targeting in particular the U.S. market where "SUVs and pickup trucks ... make up ~70% of U.S. vehicle sales with premium margins."
Separately, analysts at Redburn Research initiated coverage of Rivian stock today, arguing that Rivian "beat Tesla, Ford and GM to market with the first electric pickup" (reports TheFly.com). Arguing that demand for Rivian's products will "vastly outstrip" its current ability to produce trucks to fill that demand, Redburn says this $85 stock is actually worth $141 in fair value.
For today, at least, investors seem to agree.