Barron's

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A Nio eC6 car is displayed at a trade show in Shanghai last week.

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Stock in the Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO has gone from down in the dumps to king of the hill, with seven straight days of gains. Technical factors, rather than developments that would affect earnings, appear to be behind the shift.

NIO (ticker: NIO) stock was a can’t miss bet for months. Shares gained more than 1,100% in 2020, closing at around $49. They raced to almost $67 early this year, but stalled out and fell to less than $32 last month. New competition in China’s EV market, confusion over deliveries during the Lunar New Year holiday, and the global shortage of semiconductors for use in cars all gave investors reasons to sell, or avoid buying. Higher interest rates also dinged valuations of high-growth stocks in February and March.

But over the past week, investors are feeling much better. Shares closed 3.8% higher on Monday afternoon, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were roughly flat.

That took the shares from less than $36 to almost $43, even though not much has changed in fundamental terms.

The stock picked up one new Buy rating. That always helps. CLSA analyst Soobin Park launched coverage of the stock with a Buy and $50 price target. Two-thirds of analysts covering the company rate shares Buy. The average Buy rating ratio for stocks in the S&P 500 is about 55%.

Barron’s Ed Lin also pointed out Sunday that Munich Ergo Asset Management GmbH, which manages investments for reinsurance giant Munich Re, bought more shares of NIO stock in the first quarter. That vote of confidence may be lifting the stock as well.

More important, though, NIO stock was oversold. The stock’s relative strength index, or RSI, which measures the speed and magnitude of price changes, was bouncing around 30 in early March, on a range from 0 and 100. A low reading of 30 means, for traders, that all the selling is done for the near term and that a stock might be due for a bounce.

NIO stock has done exactly that. Now the RSI reading is back around 58, a little higher than the midpoint of 50, but not yet to the point where traders would start to target NIO shares as overbought.

So far this year, NIO stock is down about 13% year to date, leaving it behind both the broader market and Tesla (TSLA) stock’s 4% gain. The next chapter of the stock’s story could begin on Thursday, when NIO reports its first-quarter financial results.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com