Electric and autonomous vehicle ETF falls 15% in September

GMC autos sit on show on the Sterling McCall Buick GMC dealership on February 02, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

A key ETF for electrical and autonomous vehicle shares suffered an unpleasant month in September, falling almost 15% amid fears a recession might sluggish income for the automakers.

The Global X Autonomous and Electric Vehicles ETF closed on Friday at about $20, greater than 37% off the group’s 52-week excessive. It was the second worst-performing month for the group on a proportion foundation on document, behind solely March 2020 when the general inventory market noticed dramatic declines.

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Investors are rising involved that the potential for a recession will not deter the Federal Reserve Bank from its plan to proceed mountaineering rates of interest, which in flip might make new autos extra pricey for shoppers and companies that must finance the purchases.

Consumers are already grappling with sticker costs which are greater than ever – and with tight provides which have led some sellers to demand further premiums. According to J.D. Power estimates, the typical transaction worth for a brand new automotive offered in August was $46,259, the very best on document.

TrueCar analyst Zack Krelle thinks shoppers are already starting to balk at these excessive costs, particularly as inflation drives their different bills greater – and particularly as rates of interest proceed to rise.

“We’re seeing consumers faced with the reality that to afford the same vehicle at the same monthly payment as last year, they are forced to increase their down payment, which is creating new affordability challenges,” Krelle mentioned in a press release on Thursday. “With increasing interest rates, affordability is being tested.”

It’s possible that automakers’ earnings will stoop if the U.S. enters a recession. That has put strain on the shares of auto giants like Ford Motor (down 27% in September), General Motors (down 18%), and Volkswagen (down 13%), all of that are included in the ETF’s holdings.

It’s additionally pressuring shares of the suppliers and startups in the EV and autonomous-driving areas that make up the vast majority of the ETF’s portfolio. Not solely would a recession restrict automakers’ potential to speculate in new applied sciences, however greater rates of interest — and the market weak point that would accompany a recession — would additionally make it more durable for these smaller firms to lift further capital from different buyers.

Most main automakers are ready to trip out a recession. But lots of the smaller firms in the EV and self-driving areas might battle. Some of the names which have attracted investor consideration during the last couple of years are nonetheless a good distance from sustainable profitability and are more likely to want extra money infusions over the subsequent few years.

Some, like EV battery startup QuantumScape (a constituent of the ETF, down 21% in September) might not even have significant income for a number of extra quarters, a lot much less earnings.

Among the ETF’s different large movers in September:

  • Lidar maker Luminar Technologies was down 13% for the month.
  • Chinese electric-vehicle makers Nio and XPeng ended the month down 20% and 34%, respectively.
  • Electric heavy-truck maker Nikola fell 35% in September.

— CNBC’s Gina Francolla contributed to this report.

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