Electric vehicle (EV) companies are great long-term investments, but investors need to ensure that they manage their short-run value at risk because it tends to be negatively skewed when volatility enters the fray. Nio (NYSE:NIO) performed especially well during the earlier stages of the pandemic for two reasons. First, NIO stock gained because unexpected expansionary monetary policy allowed for growth stocks to surge. Secondly, the market was craving a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) competitor that could possibly emulate TSLA’s impressive bull run.
The broad-based market climate is set to change in 2022, however. With contractionary monetary policy entering the building, I expect many growth investors to scatter. NIO stock is one of the names that could be subject to such an event.
NIO Stock: Deliveries Could Disappoint Many
According to Morgan Stanley analyst Tim Hsiao, Nio’s deliveries are set to get off to a slow start in January amid Chinese New Year celebrations and tight Covid-19 restrictions. The analyst has the following to say:
“The industry is looking for a pre-holiday boost to rev up weekly sales until later in January, when store traffic/deliveries could fall substantially. This is especially the case given sporadic lock-downs amid resurgence of Covid cases in China. With easing chip shortage, we saw more resilient sales in ICEVs than EVs at the beginning of year, likely due to unleashing of pent-up demand from 2021.”
With this in mind, I believe there will be a cooldown in demand for the rest of 2022 as well. Of course, many investors may be tired of hearing about China’s revised debt policies and its crackdown on big tech. But it’s very relevant in relation to car sales — especially when it involves product switching from ICE vehicles to EVs.
When it comes down to it, the reduction of private-sector leverage and a smoothing in technological development will likely underscore previously estimated real GDP forecasts, potentially damaging Nio’s top-line earnings growth as a result. In turn, that could damage the price of NIO stock.
There’s a Pricing Problem Here
The price-sales (P/S) ratio is an excellent metric to use when valuing a growth company. Why? Because it’s less susceptible to volatility and not easily manipulated by a company’s management team. One would usually compare a stock’s price multiples to its five-year average to justify an overvalued or undervalued call. However, seeing as Nio only listed in 2018, we’ll need to look at a sector comparison and then discuss cyclicality.
Currently, Nio’s P/S ratio is trading at a 7.7 times premium to the industry. That isn’t good news. Rather, it tells us that the market has gotten ahead of itself, which may mean that NIO stock is set for downward mean reversion in the short term. And business cyclicality certainly doesn’t help the cause. As I mentioned before, we’re heading into a contractionary monetary cycle. That usually gives rise to value stocks while stunning growth stocks like NIO.
A final pricing problem to look at is the company’s price-book (P/B) ratio. Right now, Nio’s P/B ratio is also trading at a premium relative to industry peers. The P/B ratio is an important metric to consider with asset-heavy businesses and Nio’s isn’t only overvalued based on a peer analysis. It’s also considerably above the valuation threshold, yet again suggesting downward short-term mean reversion.
What’s Next for NIO Stock?
All things considered, Nio is a great company. However, it could be subject to macroeconomic headwinds going into 2022. Furthermore, NIO stock isn’t priced correctly, with the lingering effects of 2020’s market gunning still present.
NIO stock is trading below its 10-, 50-, 100- and 200-day moving averages, conveying a downward momentum pattern that would take a lot to reverse. I wouldn’t look at shorting the stock, however. Last year, China’s recent hard-line political shift was a catalyst to a significant drawdown. Rather, investors should look to manage risk by shedding some weight from their portfolios or divesting until the stock’s key drivers are back in check.
On the date of publication, Steve Booyens did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Steve Booyens co-founded Pearl Gray Equity and Research in 2020 and has been responsible for equity research and PR ever since. Before founding the firm, Steve spent time working in various finance roles in London and South Africa, and his articles are published on various reputable web pages such as Seeking Alpha, Benzinga, Gurufocus, and Yahoo Finance. Steve’s content for InvestorPlace includes stock recommendations, with occasional articles on crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, and ESG.