Watch Out, Rivian Investors! RIVN Stock Looks Stuck in Reverse. thumbnail

Watch Out, Rivian Investors! RIVN Stock Looks Stuck in Reverse.

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In my last article on Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ:RIVN), I argued that this electric vehicle stock appeared ready to crash. Not too long after that, RIVN stock entered “capitulation mode,” falling from the mid-$20s to the low-teens per share by year’s end.

At first, it may have seemed as if this sell-off would come to an end, as much of it was likely due to tax loss harvesting. Unfortunately, the Rivian selloff has carried into 2023.

On Jan. 4, underwhelming delivery numbers fueled yet another sell-off for this early-stage EV maker, at one point considered a top candidate to topple Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) as the leading name in the electric vehicle space.

While perhaps finding support in the near term, don’t consider now high time to dive into this stock. While far cheaper than it was a month ago, a rebound may not be around the corner.

RIVN Rivian Automotive $16.40

The Continued Fall of RIVN Stock

In prior coverage of Rivian, I’ve discussed how this company, backed by corporate heavyweights like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Ford (NYSE:F), went from “Tesla killer” in the making, to a busted growth story. In turn, causing the stock to experience a hard fall during the first half of 2022.

But after trading sideways starting mid-year, and through the autumn months, the fall of RIVN stock renewed in December. Again, tax planning likely was a factor in this sharp drop in price. Other EV stocks, Tesla included, experienced similar sell-offs during this timeframe, for this very reason.

However, a reason more directly related to Rivian likely played a role as well. Investors reacted negatively to news of the company pausing discussions to partner with Mercedes-Benz (OTCMKTS:MBGYY) to build and sell electric vans in Europe. This move may signify an additional walking back of this early-stage EV maker’s growth plans.

Only a week into the new year, Rivian has again reported disappointing news, with its latest delivery numbers. Although reporting a record number of deliveries during the preceding quarter, its full-year production numbers (24,337) fell slightly short of the company’s 25,000 vehicle target.

Think Twice Before Betting on a Rebound

Following the recent RIVN stock capitulation, the question now is whether shares are on the verge of bottoming out, or if an additional pullback in store. One analyst (Wedbush’s Dan Ives) has already made his opinion on the matter known.

As InvestorPlace’s Samuel O’Brient reported on Jan. 5, Ives, best known for his sell-side coverage of Tesla, has laid out a cautiously bullish case for RIVN. Citing the positive aspects of the recent numbers, and estimating that Rivian will more than double deliveries this year, Ives has reiterated his “buy” rating and $55 per share price target.

But you may want to think twice before buying RIVN merely on Ives’ upbeat assessment. The EV maker may continue to underwhelm forecasts, even perhaps to a greater extent, during 2023. If a recession happens this year, it could slow EV adoption, affecting demand for Rivian’s trucks and commercial vans.

Competition, including from Ford (which still owns a stake in the company), may also limit Rivian’s growth potential in 2023. Even if Rivian stays in the fast lane in terms of revenue growth, market conditions may continue to stay unfavorable for shares in companies that are growing fast, yet are not currently profitable.

The Verdict

Put simply, my view on Rivian is unchanged. A lot needs to happen before this stock could (possibly) get back to price anywhere near the lofty levels achieved right after its debut in the public markets.

As one-time events such as near-zero interest rates, or the 2021 EV stock bubble, are not likely to repeat themselves, it’s questionable whether, even in a “best case scenario,” RIVN could eventually re-hit its all-time high closing price ($172.01 per share).

In the meantime, as multiple factors continue to work out of its favor, there’s a strong chance of additional disappointment ahead. Both in terms of the company’s delivery numbers, and its fiscal results.

The situation could change if RIVN stock falls fully into the stock market junkyard, but it’s not there yet. For now, continue to stay away.

RIVN stock earns a D rating in Portfolio Grader.

On the date of publication, Louis Navellier held positions in AMZN and F. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.