Li Auto delivers surprising gains, but outlook lags emerging Tesla rival in China; Rivian on tap

Li Auto delivers surprising gains, but outlook lags emerging Tesla rival in China;  Rivian on tap

Li AutoLI) delivered a surprising first-quarter gain on Tuesday, but gave weak second-quarter supply and revenue forecasts as the supply disruptions continue. Li Auto shares jumped as the S&P 500 bounced after a three-session slide.

RivianRIVN) is on deck on Wednesday. Both are promising but controversial EV startups.


Along with a wide market sell-off, Li Auto shares, along with colleagues NiozNIO) and xpengXPEV), fell further Monday amid slowing electric vehicle sales and fears of delisting in the US. Rivian stock plunged Monday after an unconfirmed report that Fordf) was unloading millions of RIVN shares.

Shares of Li Auto and Rivian rose early Tuesday as the shares showed a modest rebound.

Rivian aims to shake off Tesla’s dominance in the US market. In China, Li Auto and his startup colleagues both challenge TeslaTSLA) and homegrown EV giant BYDBYDDF

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Li Auto Revenue

estimates: Analysts polled by FactSet expected Li Auto to lose 7 cents per ADR from a loss of 6 cents a year ago. Sales rose to $1.49 billion.

Results: Li Auto earned 7 cents a share. Revenue rose 167.5% to $1.51 billion.

Li previously disclosed that it delivered 31,716 vehicles in the first quarter, near the top of its forecast range and up 152% year over year. The automaker has one current model, the Li One SUV. The Li One is actually a hybrid, with a small petrol engine to extend its range.

Outlook: Li Auto expects 21,000-24,000 deliveries in the second quarter, up 19.5%-36.6% from a year earlier, but down sharply from the first quarter. It said on Tuesday that delivery of a delayed new EV, the L9, will begin in the third quarter.

Deliveries of the L9 will begin in the third quarter, despite “recent pandemic-related bumps in the road,” CEO Xiang Li said in Tuesday’s release of results. In mid-April, Li Auto postponed the planned start of L9 deliveries. Li added on Tuesday that supply disruptions due to China’s recent resurgence of Covid “present a challenge to our industry, and uncertainty remains for the foreseeable future.”

April sales slowed sharply for Li Auto and his colleagues. Li’s electric vehicle sales fell 62% from March and 25% from a year earlier. Many suppliers were closed, with serious consequences for the production of Li.

The new Q2 forecast implies that May and June combined deliveries will improve, but still lag behind the pace of Q1.

Li Auto also forecast second-quarter revenue of $972.3 million – $1.11 billion, up 22% to 40% from a year earlier. Analysts had expected $1.759 billion.

Li Auto Stock

Shares rose 7.6% to 20.39 on the exchange today. Li Auto shares fell 9.1% on Monday amid a broad sell-off.

Li Auto shares undercut its 50-day moving average in April after the SEC added it to a tentative list of foreign companies to be delisted from U.S. exchanges unless they open their accounts. The relative strength line for Li stocks is showing a serious slowdown. Nio and Xpeng also bounced on Tuesday. They sank Monday and last week after joining LI stocks on the tentative list of Chinese companies poised for a U.S. scrap.

Rivian Revenue

estimatesAnalysts polled by FactSet predict Rivian will lose $1.41 a share on revenue of $132.7 million. There are no figures for a year ago.

Results: Come back late Wednesday.

Outlook: Rivian expects to produce 25,000 EVs by 2022, after halving its previous target in March.

Rivian Stock

Shares Rivian rose 4.7% to 23.92 on Tuesday. Shares plunged 21% to 22.78 Monday, a record low. Rivian stock collapsed after a report that Ford will sell 8 million of the 102 million RIVN shares it owns. Ford declined to comment on the report.

Promising EV startup Rivian, backed by Ford and AmazonAMZN), went public last November via a blockbuster IPO.

At the end of last year, it started with limited deliveries of the R1T, a fully electric truck. But in March, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe warned that electric vehicle production by 2022 is lagging far behind plans, despite strong demand. Management halved plans to build 50,000 EVs this year.

Last week, rival EV startup lucidLCID) maintained its production target but warned of supply disruptions, including Covid-related factory closures in China. LCID stock fell 9.8% to 16.37 Monday, its lowest level since Sept. 1. On Tuesday, the stock rose 2.6%.

Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna


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