Wall Street came to work on Thursday morning in an improved mood, putting Wednesday's steep losses behind it and showing more optimism for the new day. As of 8:30 a.m. ET, futures on the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.55%) were up about half a percent, regaining a portion of its losses from the previous session.
A couple of Nasdaq stocks moved upward much more sharply. Nikola (NKLA 4.89%) has gotten a lot of attention from investors for a long time, and the electric truck company reached a milestone that got its shareholders excited about what the future will bring. Meanwhile, China's Trip.com (TCOM -2.96%) announced its latest financial results and gave investors a brighter outlook on an industry that has gotten hit hard over the past two years by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Nikola gets out of the starting gate
Shares of Nikola were up 19% in premarket trading on Thursday morning. Investors were pleased that the company fulfilled a promise that it had made in its conference call following the February release of its latest financial results.
Nikola confirmed that its Arizona manufacturing facility did indeed start to produce its battery electric truck, the Tre, as of this past Monday. In addition, Nikola said that it still intends to begin production for the European market from its German facility in mid-2023.
The move higher came as oil prices stayed at high levels near $115 per barrel. Rising energy prices have typically accelerated development of electric vehicles and other technology offering alternatives to fossil fuels, and shareholders are hopeful that Nikola has finally put the controversies of the past behind it and is ready to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.
Nikola hopes to deliver 300 to 500 Tre vehicles to customers this year, but plenty of short-selling investors are skeptical of its plans. With the potential for short squeezes, it's fair to expect heightened volatility for the EV maker's stock in both directions in the weeks and months to come.
Trip.com takes off
Across the Pacific, Trip.com celebrated solid fourth-quarter financial results. The stock followed suit, with shares rising more than 5% in premarket trading.
Trip.com's numbers fared far better than you might expect from a company based in a region that's still facing considerable headwinds from the pandemic. Revenue for the fourth quarter was down 6% from year-earlier levels, with weakness across the board in accommodations, transportation, and packaged tour sales. However, for the full year, Trip.com saw revenue rise 9%, led higher by strength in accommodations and a big rise in corporate travel from the previous year. The company managed to post positive adjusted earnings of $0.08 per share for the quarter and $0.33 per share for 2021 as a whole.
The company noted that several waves of new infections within certain areas in China weighed on near-term results. However, having to make it through tough times has built up Trip.com's resilience in the eyes of executive chair James Liang. Strategically, Trip.com hopes to keep looking at the recovery in the business sector within China as a key driver of near-term growth. It also looks forward to broader global travel reopening efforts bearing fruit, with an ambitious plan to expand internationally.
China's zero-COVID policy could keep things volatile for Trip.com, but eventually, people should be able to travel freely without the restrictions that have been in place over the past two years. Long-term investors can keep that conviction even as China continues to battle the pandemic now.