Tesla’s Souring Sentiment, Boeing Bounces Back & Check Point Under Attack

Tesla’s Symphony Of Destruction?

Great Ones, you take a mortal man … and put him in control.

Watch him become an EV god. Watch his Twitter account troll. And troll. And troooooll!

Yes, folks, Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is just like the Pied Piper leading rats through the streets. But investors aren’t going to dance like marionettes for much longer…

(That’s Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction,” in case y’all were wondering.)

The shine is wearing off Musk’s antics, and sooner or later, his behavior will seriously impact TSLA stock. If y’all remember, I said as much about a week ago here in Great Stuff:

Who buys EVs? Politically speaking, who buys Teslas?

Y’all know who I’m talking about. Now consider how many of those customers Elon Musk’s antics this year have triggered, upset and “owned.” He’s basically become a pariah among his main customer base, and it is sure to affect Tesla’s sales … especially with the younger generations.

Most of y’all apparently thought I was joking, with several Great Ones essentially saying “boys will be boys,” and that it isn’t a big deal.

Others scoffed at the idea that younger generations — aka Gen Z — would even care by the time they’re able to buy cars.

The “boys will be boys” group clearly doesn’t pay attention to consumer sentiment … and that’s a real quick way to get burned on Wall Street.

The “Gen Z isn’t old enough to drive” group … y’all, I’m already working with Gen Z. They can drive. They care … and they’ll be voting in 2024 … just sayin’.

Anywho, while the importance of consumer sentiment is a hill I will die on as an investor, I was wrong about one thing: that only the younger generations would care.

According to Creative Strategies, a company that measures customer experience, most people view Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) favorably. CEO Elon Musk, however, they could do without:

We hear from Tesla owners who will say, ‘Look, I love my vehicle, but I really wish I didn’t have to respond to my friends and family about his latest tweet.

I guess this is the 2020s version of: “Did you see that our neighbor bought an Edsel?”

The point is it’s not just over-caffeinated young people dancing on TikTok who are disillusioned by Musk’s circus sideshow.

You’ve got people like Jerry Stone, a 48-year-old chef in Sacramento, California, who told Bloomberg:

Elon has just soiled that brand for me so much that I don’t even think I would take one if I won one. You have this guy who’s the richest dude in the world, who has this huge megaphone, and he uses it to call somebody a pedophile who’s not, or to fat-shame people, all these things that are just kind of gross.

Or people like Emma Sirr, a 28-year-old worker in cloud computing who lives in Bozeman, Montana, who also told Bloomberg:

We took Tesla off the table from the get-go. As consumers, our power is what we buy. I think younger generations in particular vote with their wallets, and I feel like that might come back to bite.

And if you think this is all just anecdotal, Strategic Vision, a U.S. consulting firm that advises automakers, said that 39% of U.S. car buyers wouldn’t consider a Tesla.

That’s a really tough spot to be in at this point in the EV game, especially when competitors are getting ready to flood the market with really good and cheaper alternatives.

Alternatives that don’t come with 14-year-old boy tweets as a feature.

Now, I’m not saying that other companies don’t have bad or randy CEOs. I’m sure GM’s CEO Mary Barra is quite the wild one in her off time, making inappropriate Ford memes. I’m kidding. I don’t really know.

But the difference is that no matter what those other CEOs think about anything, they certainly don’t tweet out poop emojis or Hitler memes. That’s because they know that in the extremely tight world of auto sales, image is everything.

And right now, Tesla’s Musk is acting like a robot …. its metal brain corrodes. Personally, I will not be trying to take Tesla’s pulse before the head explodes.

If Tesla doesn’t rein in Musk soon, he’s going to ruin the EV maker’s image for an entire generation of potential buyers. That’s going to be a big problem for TSLA stock down the road.

But that’s not the only competition Tesla’s facing…

For many drivers, there’s still hesitation to buy EVs — especially Teslas. Yet one tiny company’s breakthrough battery tech will knock out all those EV hesitations.

Its small, lightweight battery is no bigger than a deck of cards. And my colleague Charles is bullish on it disrupting the $2 trillion car industry.

Click here to find out why.

The Good: Boeing’s Back … & Better Than Ever?

No, Great Ones, your eyes do not deceive you: Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) back in today’s “Good” spot — and for good reason!

At first, BA investors were relieved that the planemaker narrowly averted a strike at three of its plants.

Set to start today, the workers’ strike is now on hold, seeing as Boeing decided to “renegotiate” contracts with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

That relief turned into pure elation with part two of Boeing’s announcement boogaloo: The FAA just cleared the 787 Dreamliner for takeoff — er, delivery.

With about 120 of these Dreamliners built and waiting in the wings, Boeing can now start delivering orders to customers. Wall Street only expects Boeing to deliver 85 of these jets this year, however. Jet deliveries aren’t DiGiorno, you know … and there’s no 30-minute delivery guarantee here, even when you’re buying billions of dollars’ worth of planes.

Nevertheless, however long it takes Boeing to send the 787 Dreamliners off to their respective dreamlands, BA investors can sleep soundly knowing that the company’s orders are finally being filled, with rosier earnings reports surely to come.

Oh, and the 7% rally for Boeing stock ain’t too shabby either.

The Bad: Cyber Insecurities

By the numbers, Check Point (Nasdaq: CHKP) reported a double beat that barely squeaked by analysts’ estimates.

But forget about the numbers for now … it’s all about outlooks this earnings season. Wall Street wants its optimistic outlooks, and there will be hell to pay if it doesn’t get them.

So we’re gonna be positive and ix-nay on that whole eccession-ray thing … eh?

According to Check Point execs, the cybersecurity market is seeing healthy demand, which is basically saying: “The world’s digital security is absolute garbage, and there are ransomware/malware scams left and right. It’s horrid … unless you’re a CHKP investor.”

If you don’t believe me, Check Point pointed to some “fun” facts in its latest report: The number of cyberattacks rose 32% last quarter alone, with ransomware attacks in particular jumping 59%.

First off, that is terrifying. Yet in Check Point’s world, those threats are a healthy environment for cybersecurity market growth … like selling umbrellas in a monsoon.

Hold on, this sounds way too positive to be “bad.” What’s bad about Check Point?

Oh, the company’s report was glowing, magnificent, tremendous — all around Great Stuff. Wall Street’s reaction, on the other hand, not so much.

All it took was one little phrase from Check Point, one teensy-weensy footnote of a detail within the company’s report, and CHKP stock was sent careening 5% downward.

The phrase? “Global economic softness.”

Ew.

You’re telling me. Wall Street took that to mean diminishing returns and earnings for Check Point — presumably, if companies are cutting back on spending, what expense will many of them cut? Preventative cybersecurity … unfortunately.

Surely this can’t go belly up…

The Ugly: Niiiiiiiiiiiiiikola

Like choking on a cough drop, Nikola (Nasdaq: NKLA) investors were left breathless and clutching their chests today: Not only does the OG EV hilly roller still exist, it’s out here making million-dollar deals with battery-makers!

Wait, battery-makers? I thought Nikola was all about fuel cells!

Well … yeah, about that.

You might remember from the bajillion times we’ve talked about hydrogen power that, yes, even fuel-cell cars will need small batteries to maintain certain quick-response functions. It’s either that, or Nikola is finally admitting that it doesn’t have — and possibly never had — viable hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

What rolls down stairs, rolls under your chair, rolls over your neighbor’s dog?

No, Ren & Stimpy fans. It’s not “log.” It’s a Nikola hydrogen fuel-cell truck.

Anyway, Nikola is framing its $144 million buyout of Romeo Power by using everybody’s favorite corporate buzzwords: “vertical integration” and “synergies!”

Hearing this, you might think that Nikola is finally trying to put up a fight in the EV realm by strengthening its supply chain. You might think that … until you realize that Romeo Power was just about to go under due to a lack of funding.

But then again, when Nikola is one of your main customers, don’t expect to get rich. That’s all I’m saying.

The Juliet to Romeo Power, Nikola gave the struggling battery-maker $35 million just to tide it over while the deal is completed. Because we all know Nikola is so flush with cash from all those EVs it hasn’t been selling…

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Regards,

Joseph Hargett
Editor, Great Stuff

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