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Apple’s Car Conundrum, Ford Friend-Zones Rivian, Monster Sees Stars

by Joseph Hargett | November 22, 2021

New Apple Car wheels chamois sold separately meme

The Apple Car: How Soon Is “When?”

Today, Great Ones, we’re gonna talk about Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).

The Fed … right. Wait, Apple? You had the Fed and October home sales, and you went with Apple?

Guys, the other two stories should’ve been expected. Come on, like President Biden was gonna change the head of the Federal Reserve in the middle of a pandemic, the employment crisis, the supply chain crisis and everything else that’s going on?

Not on your life. Jerome Powell it is, and Jerome Powell it will stay until things settle down. I mean, just look at how happy Wall Street is! Next…

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And housing? Please. Was October’s data good? Or was October’s data bad? It depends on whom you ask … which means we’re likely nearing a top.

After all, when analysts struggle to spin mediocre data as good data, you know the enthusiasm is running out.

Anywho … I came here to talk about Apple. Apple of all things.

Now, y’all know I don’t particularly like Apple. Walled garden. Lacking innovation. Yada yada yada. I’ve said it all before.

But today, we have something new … or at least “new” in that we haven’t talked about it much in the past six years. And that “new” is the rumored Apple Car.

You might as well call it the official zombie-electric vehicle (EV) of Wall Street at this point. The thing has come back from the dead so many times in the past six years it isn’t funny anymore. OK, it’s a little bit funny … this feeling inside…

On Friday, Wedbush Securities Managing Director Dan Ives breathed new life into the Apple Car on Yahoo Finance Live with the following claim:

It’s a matter of when, not if Apple comes out with the Apple car. We’ve assigned 75%, 80%-plus chance that this happens. We’ve said 2024 [as a possible release date for the Apple car]

Apple is not going to view this market from the outside. It’s a fourth Industrial Revolution playing out. And I think Cook and company within Apple Park, they have a lot of things going on when it comes to autonomous [vehicles].

If you’ve followed Apple’s existence at all, you know that this fits the company’s MO perfectly: Find a popular product that everybody wants, then “Apple it up” with spiffy looks and a proprietary software package that only plays nice with other Apple products.

I wonder if I’ll need to own a Mac, iPhone and a specific type of charger that no one else in the market uses to charge my Apple Car? That would be par for the course, you see.

But what really caught my eye … what’s really outta left field for Apple … is Ives’ claim that the Apple Car will have full autonomous capabilities. In other words, the Apple Car will be fully self-driving — a feat even the great Elon Musk hasn’t been able to achieve yet.

This fully self-driving claim is the big deal. Should Apple actually have the tech to implement it, it would be groundbreaking. It would put the Apple Car at the top of the EV heap.

It would also be a break from the norm for Apple — you know, actually innovating a new product or service and not just gussying up an existing one?

And that, Great Ones, is where my suspension of disbelief ends.

Apple car? Seen it already Scarry meme

I have no doubt that Apple will release an Apple Car at some point … but not until the EV market grows more. Apple doesn’t like small markets, after all. It won’t take that risk like it did back in the iPod days.

But I do have plenty of doubts that the so-called Apple Car will be fully self-driving — or, if it is, that it will arrive anytime within the next 10 years. Apple has already been working on the Apple Car via project “Titan” since 2015. And yet, we haven’t heard an official peep or rumored leak during all this time.

That is also outside the norm for Apple.

The bottom line here is that if you like Apple, invest in Apple. I don’t, but that’s me … and I have my reasons. But I would be very hesitant to jump on the Apple Car EV movement right now. I need to see some actual proof that the Apple Car and this fully self-driving software exist before I’d take that plunge.

We’ve seen enough vaporware in the EV space. We don’t need more — especially from the likes of Apple.

By the way … with EV growth set to surge 1,150% by 2030, there’s still a lot of money on the table. The absolute best way to play EV stocks? Click here now!

Great Stuff, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: Sky Rockets In Flight

Astra rocket 50% of the time works every time meme

Investors are praising new space-launch startup Astra Space (Nasdaq: ASTR), which sent its first rocket into orbit late Friday evening from its Alaska-based spaceport. This is the company’s first successful commercial launch, which it completed for the U.S. Space Force.

We’re talking, like, “official” space. Not that edge-of-space stuff Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are pulling.

However, this is not Astra’s first attempt to send a rocket into outer space. Astra tried slinging a rocket back on August 30, only for it to experience engine failure and make a hasty retreat back down to Earth.

Astra clearly collected enough data from its first failed mission to work out all the kinks and now finds itself back in Wall Street’s favor, with ASTR stock rocketing 37% higher on news of the completed launch.

Even Elon Musk Tweeted his regards shortly after Astra’s rocket achieved orbit, saying: “Congratulations! Orbit is not easy.”

Elon would know, as his SpaceX program has run into its own rocket launch problems of late, the latest of which involves a leaky toilet. Seriously … you can’t make this crap up.

Editor’s Note: 11X Bigger Than EVs, Space and Biotech — COMBINED!

The race to build American industry is on, and it’s massive. I’m talking 11 times bigger than EVs, space and biotech combined.

One North Carolina stock is at the forefront — it’s cracked the code to turning this technology from a billion-dollar niche into a $100 trillion global manufacturing power, according to the World Economic Forum.

Click here for the full story.

The Bad: “I Think We Should Just Be Friends…”

Rivian 1 day after IPO 12 days after IPO meme

Ford (NYSE: F) and rival EV maker Rivian (Nasdaq: RIVN) called it quits last week and will no longer pursue a joint venture to develop EVs together.

Ford will, however, continue to hold a 12% stake in Rivian shares and hopes the two can remain friends moving forward.

Rivian, for its part, took the breakup in stride … even if the company’s shareholders started dumping RIVN stock almost immediately:

As Ford has scaled its own EV strategy and demand for Rivian vehicles has grown, we’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries. Our relationship with Ford is an important part of our journey, and Ford remains an investor and ally on our shared path to an electrified future.

How very mature of you, Rivian. Honestly, I can’t say this announcement comes as any big surprise: Ford doesn’t need Rivian to make EVs. It already has all the money and tech in place to launch its own lineup of all-electric vehicles.

Rivian, on the other hand, could use the help of a company like Ford to build out its business … but that’s tough nuts for this brand-new EV maker that somehow has a higher market valuation than Ford itself.

Maybe Rivian’s recent IPO sent Ford over the edge … or maybe Ford’s on that self-love schtick and just wants to better itself and its production capacity. If I were a betting man, I’d say it’s probably the latter.

The Ugly: Did You Learn Nothing From Four Loko?

Squidward shouldn't have had fourth Monster Corona meme

Or was HARD MTN DEW just a tad too edgy for you?

Need even more energizing bite between the malt liquor burps? Forget that spiked Mountain Dew monstrosity — Monster Beverage (Nasdaq: MNST) has a better idea. You can decide for yourself how much “better” this idea is.

This morning, the energy drink company announced … well … Monster didn’t actually announce anything definitive. It’s exploring a potential deal with Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), which owns alcohol brands like Corona, Modelo and Svedka.

Monster didn’t confirm if its talks with Constellation are for a merger, product collab, asset deal … nada. The boozy big shot, for its part, stayed silent as well. But immediately, you know my drink-mixing mind went a-spinning at the thought of what the Monster-Constellation conglomeration could create.

If spiked energy drinks sound new to you … they shouldn’t. Four Loko popularized the malted energy drink abominations way back in the mid-2000s, and as far as Monster Energy is concerned, desperate college students have already had their own DIY “spiked Monster” recipes for just as long.

While Constellation is already fooling around in the cannabis-infused drinkables space, there’s a reason why you don’t see many drinks in the “caffeinated alcohol” category. It takes a simple Google search for “Why were Four Lokos banned?” to figure out why.

And as Bloomberg Intelligence’s Kenneth Shea notes: “I see little synergy between these two companies, as regulators would not welcome drinks that combine caffeine and alcohol… The products produced would have to leverage their respective brands but be mindful of the limitations with product formulations.”

In other words, Monster’s concoction might be neutered before it even hits consumers’ lips … if it ever does. And by that time, longtime MNST investor Coca-Cola might have different ideas on a supposed tie-up with Constellation. Like, you know, a cannabis-Monster? Don’t bogart that Canopy investment, man.

And if beauty is in the eye of the Monster beer holder, then the ugliness of this deal-that-isn’t-a-deal should be apparent for all to see.

I don’t know who today’s news was for … but I bet they’re named Kyle. Where are you, you Monster maniacs? Let me know what you think about spiked energy drinks in the inbox.

Great Stuff Chart of the Week

Ain’t it fitting, Great Ones! A feast of earnings on this most festive of weeks.

Well, until Wednesday morning, that is. For such a short week, the earnings slate is stacked. Check it out here, from Earnings Whispers on Twitter:

Earnings week of November 22 2021 chart

By the time you’re reading this, Zoom (Nasdaq: ZM) investors will have further confirmation on whether their lockdown love affair with the remote-meeting tool was an actual business breakthrough or just a burden birthed by necessity.

Tomorrow, we continue with the retail roundup that last week so triumphantly kicked off!

You can save the American Eagles and Abercrombie & Fitches of the world. I’m mainly interested in Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), aka Amazon’s try-before-you-buy center — specifically, how many janky laptops and junky PC accessories from HP (NYSE: HPQ) that Best Buy was able to sell for remote workers and everyone else stuck at home.

Besides  Best Buy Semi-Reasonable Buy, you have other suburban strip mall stalwarts like Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR) and Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) reporting this week.

Dollar Tree is still under fire for its failure of a buyout with Family Dollar, but with new activist investors involved with the company — and a new $1-and-up price strategy to boot — the dollar-store don might actually start packing heat with its earnings reports going forward.

And with Dick’s, I’d be interested to see how the chain is handling the retail reopening hokey pokey: We saw Dick’s go bananas early in the pandemic with at-home, personal fitness equipment … then team-based sports gear as people started working out outside again and some leagues returned.

Recent headline hubbub aside, Deere (NYSE: DE) has also benefitted from similar outdoor enthusiasm throughout the pandemic … well, “enthusiasm” is a strong term to use about new lawnmowers. But exploding home sales also means the dawning realization that, hey, all that lawn care is on you, buddy!

For Dick’s and Deere alike, supply chain holdups will either make or break the companies’ reports … oh, and don’t forget about the Street’s overzealous expectations too, if the past few earnings weeks are anything to go by.

Last but not least: XPeng (NYSE: XPEV). You know, the other other Tesla-Killer out of China. Just how well the EV maker’s quarter stacks up against the likes of Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Li Auto (Nasdaq: LI) remains to be seen.

Are any of your portfolio picks entering the earnings spotlight this week? Let me know at GreatStuffToday@BanyanHill.com what reports caught your eye this super-short week. Sure, the market may be closed this Friday, but we’ll be right here waiting for your replies.

In the meantime, here’s where you can find our other junk — erm, I mean where you can check out some more Greatness:

Until next time, stay Great!

Regards,
Joseph Hargett. Editor of Great Stuff

Joseph Hargett
Editor, Great Stuff

About The Author

Joseph Hargett

Joseph Hargett

Joseph Hargett is the face, the myth and the greatness behind Great Stuff — a daily e-zine from Banyan Hill that takes you on a casual romp ‘round the market’s otherwise-boring goings-on. This is finance with an edge … and by “edge,” we mean memes. A whole lotta memes.

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