Stock market report: GM fights Tesla, Cronos smokes higher

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The stock market continued its recent bout of volatility on Wednesday, with bullish investors prevailing in today’s session. Upbeat views on the main Super Tuesday contest results drove markets higher, even as concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak continued. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P500and Nasdaq Compound were generally 3% to 4% higher on the day.

Today’s stock market

Index

Percentage change

Change of stitches

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^ DJI 0.23%)

4.53%

+1,173

S&P500 (^GSPC 0.36%)

4.22%

+127

Nasdaq Compound (^IXIC 0.35%)

3.85%

+334

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Making the news today was General Motors Company (GM -3.40%)who came out with battery technology he hopes will put him in the same league as the electric vehicle pioneer You’re here (TSLA -0.57%). Elsewhere, the stock of marijuana Chronos Group (CRON 1.35%) posted substantial gains on a favorable view from a Wall Street analyst.

GM rushes forward

General Motors shares rose 3% as the automaker made a key presentation to investors regarding its electric vehicle technology. Given Tesla’s focus on pioneering battery technology on the road, GM had a lot at stake during the presentation.

CEO Mary Barra said GM plans to allocate more than $20 billion in capital to its electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle programs, along with significant engineering resources. GM intends to put as many electric vehicles on the road as possible, with the hope of selling 1 million electric vehicles a year in North America and China by the middle of the next decade.

Image source: General Motors.

Barra sees electric vehicles as an important growth driver for General Motors because of the new demographics they bring. The CEO noted that three-quarters of those who bought the Chevy Bolt electric vehicle are new to GM and have become loyal to the automaker. To that end, GM hopes to create a comprehensive ecosystem to support its vehicles, including charging facilities and new battery technology to rival Tesla’s advancements.

Even with its plans, General Motors still has a market cap that’s less than a third of what Tesla fetches. And while it has huge resources to devote to electric vehicles, GM still has a long way to go before it can catch up with its more nimble rival.

Cronos takes the height

Shares of Cronos Group ended up 12% after the cannabis company received favorable analyst comments. After watching stocks fall over the past few months, investors were pleased to see the change in pace for Cronos shares.

MKM Partners analysts raised their rating on Cronos from neutral to buy. The move follows a sharp drop in Cronos shares the previous day as investors reacted negatively to news that the cannabis company would have to delay the publication of its annual report. In MKM’s view, the fact that issues with its bulk cannabis wholesale business were the main reason for the delay in the annual report made the incident irrelevant, as the area of big is not the main performance driver of Cronos.

MKM believes that Cronos’ relationship with Altria Group (MO -1.34%) will continue to give him a strategic advantage that could be useful in the future. Even so, MKM’s optimism was limited, as analysts actually cut their price target from C$12 per share to C$11 per share.

Even with today’s rise, Cronos has still lost more than three-quarters of its value over the past year. It will take a lot more positive news to restore confidence in Cronos and in the marijuana stock sector more broadly.

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