It’s time to move on from relief/enthusiasm/grudging acceptance of the $369 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act for programs designed to speed up the transition to clean energy and to de-carbonize the economy. The surprise–and in many quarters–appreciation that the United States is doing anything–and it’s a big anything–about climate change has led to big rallies in the stocks of electric vehicle charging companies and hydrogen-economy pioneers. For example, EVgo (EVGO), obviously, I think< an electric vehicle charging stock is up 48.14% in the last month as of the close on August 17. Plug Power (PLUG), one of those hydrogen economy pioneers, is up 84,15% in the last month as of the August 17 close.But I think it's time to go from the general amazement stage to an examination of what companies--and stocks--are actually going to be winners because of the Inflation Reduction Act. (And I say that not only because some of these early winners have started to show some weakness--profit taking perhaps. But also I would pay attention to these near-term trends. EVgo, for example, fell to $10.74 a share on August 17 from $12.02 on August 16. That's a 10.6% tumble.) The bill as finally passed is a masterpiece of compromises and add-ons that mean that many of the top line dollars won't wind up where recent headlines have suggested. My take?
Lithium producer Albemarle (ALB) closed up 2.71% today after hitting an all-time high of $298.17 in intraday trading. The shares closed at $295.68. The gains for Albemarle, and across the lithium sector, came as Goldman Sachs upgraded lithium battery maker Freyr Battery (FREY) on projected higher demand for lithium batteries after the Inflation Reduction Act. Albemarle is a member of my Jubak Picks Portfolio where it is up 200.18% since my August 10, 2018 stock pick. The stock is also a member of my long-term 50 Stocks Portfolio where it is up 221.67% since February 17, 2017.
My one-hundredth-and-forty-first YouTube video “Trend of the Week: Danger of a Lithium Drought” went up today. My Trend of the Week video looks at the effects of Chile’s 15-year drought on global lithium production and prices. In particular, I look at Chilean-based national producer SQM in comparison with Albemarle (ALB.) Albemarle has more diversified production and I think it is a better bet due to this diversity of supply, but lithium will still be a volatile area for the short term. Albemarle is a member of my Jubak Picks Portfolio (up 162% from August 10, 2018) and my long-term, 50 Stocks Portfolio (up 180% from February 17, 2017.)
Lithium producer Albemarle (ALB) has been staging a very important experiment over the last few days. Here’s the question being tested: The overall market is in a serious decline–a bear or almost bear market depending on what index you track–that looks likely to go on for a while. In this environment can any individual stock deliver enough good news to buck the market trend and post gains for more than a day or two? On May 4 Albemarle raised its sales guidance for 2022 when it reported first quarter earnings. And then Monday, May 23, the company raised estimates again to a range of $5.8 billion to $6.2 billion. That was up from a previous estimated range of $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion. In total, the midpoint for the company’s estimate of 2022 revenue 38% higher than it was a month ago. And what happened to the shares?
New registrations for electric vehicles jumped 60% in the first quarter of 2022 from the first quarter of 2021. according to Experian Automotive. Electric vehicles made up an all-time record 4.6% of the total market. The news was even more positive given that overall new vehicle registrations were down 18% in the quarter from the first quarter of 2021.
In my weekend Saturday Night Quarterback I said that this week would, probably, answer the question of whether Friday’s big bounce was just a bounce, the start of a buy on the dip rally, or even a bear market rally with a bit of staying power. Two days into the week I think the market action is moving in favor of a bear market rally, one of those often quite powerful upside moves that punctuate extended bear markets.
The United States will ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia, President Biden announced Tuesday. U.S. allies in Europe also announced action on the energy front with a plan to cut natural gas imports from Russia by two-thirds in 2022. Even though the White House has said that the long-lead time on the ban would give importers and consumers time to find other sources by the end of 2022, oil futures soared today with the price of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, climbing to $126.98 a barrel, up 6.35%, for April delivery as of 12:30 p.m. in New York. International benchmark Brent creek rose 6.52%to $131.24 a barrel for April delivery.
I’m starting up my videos on JubakAM.com again–this time using YouTube as a platform. My one-hundredth-and second YouTube video “Strong hands vs. hot hands” went up today. Today I’m looking at a few stocks that exemplify what most experienced traders know: some hands are steady, and some are not. So when Nvidia announced this week that it expected to see supply chain issues (despite beating earnings and raising guidance), the stock fell. Similar things happened to chip-making equipment supplier Applied Materials and Albemarle, the lithium maker. I’m taking this opportunity to add some of these stocks into my portfolios. What about you?
If you look only at the major indexes, today was a mildly positive day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 0.30%, although the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat. The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.73% at the close and the NASDAQ 100 added 0.77%. The small cap Russell 2000 ended ahead 0.34%. But take a look at some of the frankly outlandish gains in the market’s hottest sectors. It’s not difficult to find gains of 5% or more today
The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell another 1.70% today and it’s now down 3.94% from the September 2 high. As the index dropped last week (again) and over the weekend, lots of Wall Street money managers said Hey, stocks were over-valued and news from Beijing and Washington (and places in between) is negative, but if stocks drop 5% we will be buyers. It looks like might get to test that conviction sooner than anyone expected. Which way will things break on another decline?
I found myself humming “I scare myself” this morning as the market continued its September selling. The Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks song pretty much sums up the market action this morning. We all know that stocks go down in September so we’re sending stocks downward. And we all know that September 17 is the Big Bad Day in the month so it’s unreasonable to expect a turn in sentiment before that date. But so far, I’d note, the selling seems “orderly” with the usual candidates bucking the trend and showing up in the green. It’s when those still in the green stocks start tumbling that I’ll really start to worry.
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that the Senate passed today–roughly half of that represents new spending–still faces a tough go in the House of Representatives where progressive Democrats have criticized the measure as light on dollars to fight global climate change. That spending has been pushed into a second infrastructure bill, which would also include money for expanding Medicare and improving access to childcare among other “social” infrastructure spending, which the Senate actually took up today. Most political pundits think that efforts to pass a “social” infrastructure bill using reconciliation will be enough to secure all the votes needed to pass the traditional infrastructure bill in the House. The bill passed today would include more than $110 billion to replace and repair roads, bridges and highways, and $66 billion to boost passenger and freight rail. The plan includes an additional $55 billion to address problems in the U.S. water supply such as continued use of lead pipes despite conclusive evidence that lead in water pipes leads to cognitive impairment in children. It allocates $65 billion to modernize the country’s power grid and $7.5 billion to build out a national network of electric-vehicle charging stations. The bill earmarks $47 billion to respond to wildfires, droughts, coastal erosion, heat waves and other climate crises.