Stock Market

Workhorse Stock’s Rough Year Bears Current Consideration

Conservative investors who look at a timeline of Workhorse’s (NASDAQ:WKHS) stock this year might agree with my conclusion: There remains no fundamental reason to snap up shares currently. 

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Thus far, there have been two distinct peaks in Workhorse share prices in 2021. Let’s look back on what fueled WKHS shares upward on those occasions.

That’s a good place to start to understand its story. 

USPS Contract

The United States Postal Service was responsible for a good portion of the demand that drove Workhorse share prices up from mid-2020 to early 2021. Workhorse had already burst onto the scene in June on SPAC rumors related to Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE). 

But Workhorse had long before been identified as a finalist to win the contract to replace the USPS Grumman truck that has become so iconic. Even back in January 2020, Workhorse was listed among the four finalists to replace the USPS’ aging delivery vehicle

That list would be whittled to three. Joining Workhorse was Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK) and a joint team consisting of Karsan, a Turkish EV maker, and Morgan Olson, a leading maker of aluminum walk-in vans in Michigan.  

But there were rumblings that the USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) contract favored Workhorse. Fuel efficiency was a big concern. The Grumman delivery vehicle up for replacement got a mere 10 miles to the gallon. 

And then President Joe Biden signed a directive for the government to move toward an electric, domestically made fleet. 

It all seemed to favor Workhorse over the other finalists. After all, Karsan is based in Turkey and Oshkosh is known for military vehicles, not EVs. 

And the stakes were high. 

A Lot On the Line

The winner of the NGDV contract would be set up for quite some time to say the least. Earlier estimates placed the order at 180,000 vehicles and $6 billion in value. 

It looked like Workhorse was about to set itself up for potentially decades. 

But then, on Feb. 23 Workhorse’s aspirations would be swept out from underneath its feet. Oshkosh was awarded the 10-year contract to build 165,000 delivery vehicles. 

WKHS stock immediately dropped off a cliff, falling from $30 to $15. 

That put it into a pattern in which it traded slowly sideways and downward for three months. Short interest would unsurprisingly rise following the negative news regarding the Postal Service contract. The market was betting that Workhorse would continue to fall.

Short Interest Bump  

That short interest and meme stock fervor caused WKHS stock to rise again in early June. Short interest would exceed 40%. And although it has abated slightly, it remains extremely high at 36%. 

This interest is causing demand that has Workhorse shares sitting in the teens again. It has pundits wondering if prices may shoot up again. In my estimation that is hope based on tenuous demand. That short interest could fall again at any time. 

But that short interest isn’t the only catalyst bringing Workhorse higher since June. 

The company is challenging the decision of the USPS in awarding Oshkosh the NGDV contract. 

In mid-June Workhorse filed a formal complaint in the United States Federal Court of Claims in protest of the award. This was after the company met with the USPS in March to understand why it hadn’t been chosen for the contract. You can imagine that the possibility of the USPS decision being overturned is slim. 

Even if the decision was somehow overturned the timeline would be long. In the best case scenario that would be a period of years I would guess. Oshkosh would be involved and the likelihood of any of it transpiring seems low. 

Takeaway on WKHS Stock 

Workhorse is an EV company that produced a mere 38 C-Series vehicles in Q1 this year. That should give you an idea of its operational scale. It doesn’t seem to have much of a chance at all right now, or any time soon.

Keep that in mind if you’re thinking of jumping in to WHKS stock now. 

On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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