As Tesla Falls, These 2 EV Stock Rivals Are Closing the Gap

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Newer companies in the space have a long way to go to catch up, but they're moving forward.

Stock market investors have waited to see what the latest reading on inflation would look like, and the news they got Thursday morning was roughly what they expected, albeit with some troubling signs of persistent price pressures. In response, stock markets jumped, with big gains for major market benchmarks of 2.5% to 6% as of 10:15 a.m. ET today.

One big drag on the market lately has been electric vehicle (EV) pioneer Tesla (TSLA 5.93%), which has seen its share price decline sharply in recent weeks. Although competing companies don't have close to the production capacity or sales volumes that Tesla has achieved, they nevertheless pose incremental threats to the Elon Musk-led automaker's aspirations.

Both Nio (NIO 10.00%) and Rivian Automotive (RIVN 16.67%) reported their latest results, and the EV stocks are moving higher Thursday morning in response. Below, you'll see more about what Nio and Rivian said about their prospects.

Nio bounces back

Shares of Nio rose nearly 15% Thursday morning, recovering from a 12% drop in Wednesday's regular market session. The Chinese EV company faced larger losses in the third quarter of 2022 than in previous periods, but it is still determined to use its solid competitive position in China to seek out further growth.

Nio's fundamental numbers were mixed. Sales growth was strong, with vehicle-related revenue climbing 38% year over year to $1.68 billion. Nio delivered 31,607 vehicles in the quarter, up 26% from the same period last year. But gross margin fell sharply over the past 12 months, and net losses ballooned by nearly 45% to $582 million. Adjusted per-share losses came in at $0.30.

Nio tried to emphasize the good things going on in the business. With deliveries of more than 10,000 vehicles in October, it nearly tripled its output from October 2021. Moreover, the company reported strong user demand and higher foot traffic, with the introduction of new models helping to drive interest in the company. CEO William Bin Li also highlighted Nio's efforts to penetrate the European EV market as showing early signs of success.

Investors have been worried about China's zero-COVID policy and its impact on production in the world's second-largest economy, especially as it affects industrial manufacturing companies like Nio. At least for now, things look more favorable for the automaker from an operational standpoint, but the stock is still down by nearly two-thirds from where it started the year.


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Rivian rebounds despite ongoing losses

Meanwhile, Rivian Automotive shares climbed more than 16% Thursday morning. That was enough to wipe out the double-digit-percentage losses the automaker suffered on Wednesday, with shareholders liking the optimistic outlook they saw from the company even as it continued to lose money.

The economics of Rivian's business still don't look very good. The company brought in $536 million in revenue during the third quarter of 2022, but it spent $1.45 billion just on production-related costs alone. Add in operating expenses from research and development and general overhead, and Rivian's losses jumped to $1.72 billion, or $1.88 per share.

But Rivian emphasized the positive things it sees happening with its business. It noted that it has more than 114,000 pre-orders for its R1 EV truck in the North American market, and it managed to boost its production volume by 67% quarter over quarter. Perhaps most importantly, the company affirmed that it expects to produce 25,000 vehicles in 2022, setting an ambitious hurdle to overcome for the fourth quarter.

With Rivian burning so much cash, investors have been concerned about the impact of higher interest rates and tightening conditions in the capital markets. Those worries are still valid, but today, shareholders just seem pleased that Rivian's operational potential looks strong.

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