Category: High Finance

By on October 1, 2018

Analysts and investors are quick to point out a key similarity between Ford Motor Company’s stock and the terrain between the Appalachians and Outer Banks, viewed from west to east. Unlike Tesla’s recent share price plunge(s), Ford’s decline has been gradual, remaining stubbornly unaffected by the automaker’s attempts to turn it all around.

While he’s faced questions about his performance before, Ford CEO Jim Hackett is growing frustrated with the idea that, under his leadership, the company is focused too much on the future, with not enough going on in the present. Find Out >

By on September 26, 2018

Ford’s decision to construct the current-generation F-150’s body purely of aluminum paid off in terms of lightweighting, fuel economy, and sales, but rising commodity costs over the past couple of years eroded some of the financial benefit. There’s far greater headaches facing Ford these days, as the industry grapples with tariffs on not just imported aluminum and steel, but vehicles as well.

A second income-sucking tariff hit in July, when the U.S. applied an import duty of 25 percent on a slew of Chinese goods, prompting China to up its own tariffs on American goods, including automobiles. Ford isn’t having it. Having already lost $1 billion in profit, CEO Jim Hackett has a message for President Trump. Find Out >

By on September 10, 2018

After hiring financial advisors earlier this year, a move many believed was a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO), Volvo parent company Geely now claims the waters are too choppy to float any shares in the resurgent Swedish automaker.

First reported by the Financial Times this past weekend, the Chinese holding company says there’s too many uncertainties and headwinds in the industry right now. Thus, no Volvo stock for you. The biggest uncertainty is the one that’s keeping automakers on edge the world over. Find Out >

By on August 30, 2018

Ford’s been wringing its corporate hands over stock prices for ages. While the market itself is generally rising, the Blue Oval seems to perpetually find itself in Wall Street’s basement. It is arguable that lackluster performance on this front cost Mark Fields his job earlier this year.

Things are not looking up in that department. Yesterday, FoMoCo’s credit rating was cut to Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, just a single notch above junk status.

Find Out >

By on August 27, 2018

Friday night’s not-so-surprising move by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in which he wheeled around his plan to take the company private like an angry father cutting short a family vacation, has many angles.

First and foremost is the money factor, which matters more than anything else in this drama. According to two new reports, money eventually became available, just not from the sources we were led to expect. And not from sources Musk wanted. Find Out >

By on August 25, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Fear not, there’ll be plenty of moaning about short sellers in the weeks and months — and probably years — to come. Late Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pulled an about-face, issuing a blog post in which he claimed a couple of weeks of study revealed he shouldn’t take his publicly traded automaker private.

Apparently, the trip from “funding secured” to “the funding totally would have been there”* (not a direct quote) takes 17 days. Find Out >

By on August 15, 2018

Tesla Model 3

While the U.S. and now Canada enjoy carrying out international diplomacy via tweet, the business world lays out a few ground rules. If you’re the head of a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company, maybe it’s best to not announce your intention to take the company private — while stating there’s funding on hand to pull it off — in a tweetstorm, especially if there aren’t details to back it up. Dry, boring, but concise media releases or regulatory filings alerting shareholders usually do the trick.

After looking into Tesla’s going-private plan, announced August 7th by CEO Elon Musk over Twitter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission now wants hard answers. While it might be willing to overlook the tweet (Musk, a prolific tweeter, previously told investors that announcements could happen this way), the SEC wants Musk to back up his “funding secured” claim. What person, persons, or entity made this deal possible?

Maybe a round of subpoenas will clear things up. Find Out >

By on August 14, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

A truly bizarre rumor is just one of the issues facing Tesla CEO Elon Musk as questions swirl following the August 7th announcement that he wants to take the publicly traded company private.

As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looks into Musk’s claim that there’s “funding secured” for the potential buyout, Musk was forced to confront a claim involving, of all things, a rapper, drugs, and spontaneous tweeting. Always a sideshow with this company…

The financial world, on the other hand, wants to know more about this Saudi business. Find Out >

By on August 9, 2018

Image: Electra Meccanica

A small automobile company headquartered in a city with outrageous house prices wants you to buy shares. Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp., the Vancouver-based builder of three-wheeled electric vehicles, has announced its listing on the NASDAQ.

The company’s $10 million public offering went live Thursday, listed as SOLO (common shares) and SOLOW (warrants). As you probably figured, Electra Meccanica calls its vehicle the “Solo,” which, as you also probably figured, carries a single occupant.

Looking like all three-wheelers do (strange), the Solo targets the cost-conscious commuter. Find Out >

By on July 26, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 , Image: Ford

It’s generally agreed that former Ford CEO Mark Fields was shown the door after failing to turn around the company’s steadily declining stock, but his successor hasn’t had any success on that front, either.

Jim Hackett took over in May of 2017 and, despite an ongoing cost-cutting program and numerous new model (and technology) promises, Ford’s share price shows no lift. Wednesday’s earnings call was easily the worst of Hackett’s tenure. Find Out >

By on June 16, 2018

GM Cruise self-driving Testing

The small San Francisco startup bought by General Motors in 2016 could generate a lot of money for the automaker in the near future.

According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, GM wants to unlock the value of its self-driving Cruise Automation division (officially GM Cruise LLC) — a 50-person company valued at $600 million at the time of purchase. Japan’s SoftBank, which recently pledged a $2.25 billion investment in the division, now values Cruise at $11.5 billion.

To put that figure into context, GM’s market capitalization hovers around $50 billion. The word “Cruise” should be accompanied by an old-timey cash register sound. Find Out >

By on May 31, 2018

GM Cruise self-driving Testing

Several months after procuring a large ownership stake in Uber, SoftBank has placed $2.5 billion into General Motors’ self-driving program. The automaker intends to begin deploying autonomous vehicles next year and CEO Mary Barra says her company will invest $1.1 billion of its own funds into the effort to ensure the timeline is adhered to.

Thanks to the hefty investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the Japanese holding company now owns roughly 20 percent of General Motors’ tech subsidiary, known as Cruise Automation. While tech firms and automakers have been driving hard to surpass each other in terms of autonomous development for years, GM currently appears to have the most riding on the hardware.  Find Out >

By on April 5, 2018

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

As Magneti Marelli prepares for its 100th birthday next year, the Italian parts supplier can expect to mark the occasion while newly single.

In a bid to streamline its operations, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced it is moving forward with a plan to spin off the weighty subsidiary. The split should be complete by the end of this year or early next. Find Out >

By on March 28, 2018

 

Bloomberg

Tesla has been Wall Street’s fair-haired boy as the electric car startup’s share price soared over the past few years. Production figures have not kept pace with Tesla’s market cap, and now problems getting assembly up to speed on the company’s vitally important Model 3 and concerns about its cash burn have resulted in a downgrade of its credit rating from Moody’s Investor Service. That report from Moody’s was issued late on Tuesday.

When trading began on Wednesday morning, Tesla stock opened at $264.76, down 5 percent from the day before. That is almost 14 percent lower than it was at the beginning of the week, and 31 percent lower than in September of 2017, when Tesla’s stock price apparently peaked at $385 a share. Find Out >

By on March 15, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

It’s no secret Ford Motor Company cut its previous CEO, Mark Fields, loose after the company’s stock price fell 40 percent during his time at the helm. Eager to attract investors, Fields’ superiors must have looked at General Motors’ and Tesla’s valuation and wondered, Dammit, if a very profitable company and a very unprofitable company can do it, then hell, so should we.

Out the door Fields went. Since taking the big chair in Dearborn, CEO Jim Hackett has pissed off automotive purists with his “future cities” and mobility talk, and word that the Mach 1 will return as an electric crossover hasn’t done anything to endear him to the pony car crowd. The new Mustang Bullitt does not erase this sin.

Animosity aside, Hackett has managed to place a checkmark next to a top item on his to-do list: get Wall Street’s attention. Find Out >

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