Wall Street and Markets


How are auto companies handling the windy market?

A look at the 2016 stocks for General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Tesla

Innovation series by Ronny Kerr
April 1, 2016
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4475

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Over the past few months, with the technology world experiencing a venture capital cooldown and the global financial markets plummeting alongside the price of oil, we started writing weekly market stories to stay on top of the changes afoot.

Three months into 2016, the Dow Jones and several tech stocks (including Facebook and Apple) have drifted into the green, while the Nasdaq and other tech stocks (like Google) struggle to reverse the year’s early losses. Likewise, countering the narrative that all’s well, down rounds have grown more common and the overall markets remain skittish.

With this background, I read with interest about the record-breaking year in automotive technology in 2015. Analyzing companies using technology to develop self-driving software, fleet telematics, and more, CB Insights found that VC deals rose 58 percent last year, while funding skyrocketed by 154 percent.

So I wondered: how are the world’s biggest automotive companies weathering today’s shaky economy?

First, I looked at General Motors (GM), which has been all over technology blogs thanks to its $500 million investment-partnership in ridesharing startup Lyft and, more recently, its reported $1 billion purchase of self-driving tech developer Cruise Automation. The Detroit car company largely followed the global trend, hitting a low for the year in mid-February, but it’s largely recovered: this week it's up 2.0 percent to $769.67 but for the year it's still down 1.1 percent.

GM shares 2016 year-to-date:

Ford, another big U.S. automaker, has done less well at recovering from the year’s early market turmoil: this week it's up 0.2 percent to $13.09 but for the year it's down 7.1 percent. Similarly, Germany’s Volkswagen AG (VW) is down 0.7 percent this week to $28.25 and 8.8 percent for the year.

Ford shares 2016 year-to-date:

Volkswagen shares 2016 year-to-date:

The bleakest news is from Toyota in Japan, which has fallen 2.6 percent this week to $103.54 and 15.9 percent for the year.

Toyota shares 2016 year-to-date:

Back stateside, things look rosy again when you look at one of the country’s newest rising stars in the automotive industry: Tesla. With a release date set for what will be the company's most affordable car, the Model 3, Tesla saw its shares rise 4.3 percent this week to $237.59, though it's still down 1.0 percent for the year.

Tesla shares 2016 year-to-date:

In spite of these mixed signals, the financial markets have largely recovered since bottoming out in mid-February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.6 percent this week (to 17,793) and up 2.1 percent for the year while the Nasdaq is up 3.0 percent this week (to 4,915) but still down 1.9 percent for the year.

Staying fairly even, Twitter rose 0.4 percent for the week to $16.00, but it's down an incredible 30.9 percent for the year. Facebook, doing very well amidst the shaky market, is up 2.7 percent this week to $116.06 and up 10.9 percent for the year.

Apple rose 4.1 percent to $110.00 this week, and for the year it’s up 4.5 percent. Alphabet (Google) is up 2.0 percent to $769.67, and for the year it’s down 1.1 percent.

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