Short Seller Targets 85% Downside for New Stock

Goldman is worried about Nio sales growth

by Karee Venema

Published on Oct 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM

The U.S. stock market is soaring after this morning's jobs report, though all three benchmarks are headed toward a weekly loss. Two individual stocks making notable moves in today's trading are electric car concern Nio Inc (NYSE:NIO) and teledentistry name SmileDirectClub Inc (NASDAQ:SDC). Here's a quick look at what's moving the shares of NIO and SDC.

Nio Stock Drops After Downgrade

Goldman Sachs downgraded Nio to "neutral" from "buy," and slashed its price target to $1.47 from $9.76 -- a nearly 9% discount to last night's close. The brokerage firm expressed concern over sales volumes, and said funding through equity could dilute shares. In reaction, NIO stock is 1.5% lower at $1.61, after earlier being down as much as 3.4%.

Most analysts are already skeptical toward a stock that's down 75% year-to-date, and hit a record low of $1.19 on Wednesday, Oct. 2. Currently, 10 of 12 covering brokerages maintain a "hold" or worse rating on NIO, while the average 12-month price target of $4.21 is a 160% premium to the equity's present perch.

SmileDirectClub Swings Higher in Volatile Trading

SmileDirectClub stock plunged nearly 6% earlier, after Hindenburg Research tore into the company in a research note, saying it is "carelessly cutting corners in a field of specialized medicine," and has "gone on a litigation spree to silence critics." The short seller went on to call SDC a "cash incinerating 'unicorn'," that set a price target of $2 -- representing expected downside of 85% to last night's close. SDC stock has since swung up 3.6% to trade at $14.20, after the company issued a statement, calling claims against its business model "false."

Several options traders are hoping for an even bigger bounce over the next several weeks. The November 15 call has seen the biggest increase in open interest over the past two weeks, with nearly 12,000 contracts added, and data from the major options exchanges confirms buy-to-open activity here. SDC stock hasn't traded above $15 since Sept. 25, and remains well below its mid-September initial public offering (IPO) price of $20.55.

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