TSLA vs. BYDDY: The Battle for Electric Pickup Truck Supremacy

China, the world's largest and fiercely competitive EV market, saw a 38% surge in sales of "new energy vehicles" last year, totaling 9.49 million units. This accounted for nearly 70% of global EV sales, raising concerns among traditional automakers and Tesla, Inc.'s (TSLA) Elon Musk about China's potential dominance.

Concurrently, BYD Company Limited (BYDDY), a Chinese EV giant, is set to unveil its first electrified pickup truck globally. Though details on powertrain, performance, and pricing remain undisclosed, BYDDY released images featuring an orange and blue camouflaged truck, signaling its entry into the new energy pickup segment.

Competing with TSLA's Cybertruck, Ford Motor Company's (F) Ranger and F-150 Lightning, and Toyota Motor Corporation's (TM) Hilux, the upcoming BYDDY pickup marks a new frontier in the electric pickup market.

That said, TSLA's Cybertruck, launched in November 2023, faces criticism for battery range discrepancies, premature breakdowns, and durability issues like rust and corrosion. Initially promised at $39,900 with a 500-mile range, TSLA's Cybertruck now starts at $60,900, with deliveries pushed to 2025 due to production constraints.

Musk has admitted challenges in production, forecasting a financially challenging first year. Moreover, with the Cybertruck as its latest passenger vehicle since 2020, TSLA's global expansion might stall, leaving markets outside North America waiting for new releases for years to come.

Financial Performance Comparison Between BYDDY and TSLA

In the final quarter of 2023, the Shenzhen-based carmaker saw a surge in net profit, surpassing TSLA to become the top seller of electric vehicles globally. Revenue soared by 49.8% year-over-year to ¥180.04 billion ($24.89 billion), with gross profit reaching ¥38.21 billion ($5.28 billion), a 78% increase year-over-year.

Additionally, BYDDY’s net income attributable to common stockholders reached ¥8.67 billion ($1.20 billion), up from ¥4.13 billion ($571.02 million) in the previous year's quarter. Sales volume spiked by 38%, with over 526,000 EVs sold, nearly 80,000 more than TSLA's sales.

BYDDY, for the second consecutive year, outpaced TSLA, producing 3 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) compared to Tesla's 1.84 million. BYDDY's cars, mostly priced lower than TSLA's, offer hybrid and fully electric options, posing a significant threat to competitors, as acknowledged by Musk.

In the fiscal fourth quarter of 2023, TSLA's total revenue increased 3% year-over-year to $25.17 billion. However, its gross profit declined 23.2% year-over-year to $4.44 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA decreased 26.9% from the year-ago value to $3.95 billion.

Moreover, the company’s non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP EPS attributable to common stockholders reduced 39.5% and 40.3% from the prior year's period to $2.49 billion and $0.71, respectively.

Musk now recognizes BYDDY's potential dominance in the EV market despite initial ridicule, foreseeing a scenario where they could outperform most other car companies globally. He said, "Frankly, if there are not trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world."

The Two Industry Giants’ Business Prospects and Challenges

BYDDY, while absent from the U.S. market, reaches more than 50 countries, concentrating efforts in Asia, South America, Australia, and selected European nations such as Hungary. Plans to unveil new models, including the $233,000 Yangwang U9 electric supercar, complement refreshed models like the e2 and Seagull electric hatchbacks.

Last year's global sales saw notable NEV success across multiple nations. With over 242,000 units exported, BYDDY anticipates China's NEV market surge in 2024, reinforcing its multi-brand strategy and global expansion objectives. Expansion ventures into Europe with a new Hungarian factory and successful deliveries also mark a pivotal moment in Central and Eastern European market development.

In South America, BYDDY aims to revitalize a former Ford manufacturing site in Brazil with a $620 million investment. Three Bahia factories will process locally sourced lithium and iron phosphate for vehicle production, enhancing regional presence. Future endeavors further include a prospective Mexican factory by next year's end.

Additionally, BYD's battery subsidiary, FinDreams, has partnered with Huaihai Holding Group to lead the sodium-ion battery supply for small electric cars. A Jiangsu production base near Xuzhou aims to revolutionize mass-market EV commercialization with cost-effective sodium-ion battery technology.

TSLA's recent quarterly sales shortfall has affected Elon Musk's reputation in China, the world's largest automotive market. Its market share has shrunk significantly due to unprecedented local competition and declining consumer confidence. Despite being known as a disruptor with advanced technology, TSLA struggles with its limited lineup of the Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.

In contrast, competitors like BYDDY offer a wider range of vehicles with advanced features. From the affordable Seagull hatchback to the high-performance Yangwang U8 plug-in hybrid SUV, BYDDY presents a compelling array of options.

Globally, TSLA's delivery of 386,810 vehicles in the first quarter falls significantly short of expectations. "It’s been an epic disaster, not just in terms of the delivery number, but the strategy,” Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Dan Ives said. “This is probably one of the most challenging periods for Musk and Tesla in the last four or five years.”

Furthermore, the company’s reliance on BYDDY battery cells puts it at a disadvantage, as BYDDY’s in-house battery and semiconductor manufacturing capabilities give it an edge. BYDDY’s revolutionary Blade Battery, with an impressive 600 km range on a single charge, highlights TSLA’s struggles to remain competitive.

Bottom Line

In 2008, BYDDY introduced its inaugural plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the F3DM, coinciding with Berkshire Hathaway's $230 million investment. Since then, BYDDY has solidified its position as a dominant force in China's EV market, consistently ranking among the top monthly EV sellers in the country.

Having conquered the Chinese market, BYDDY now sets its sights on global expansion, with a presence in at least 58 overseas markets, including Germany, Japan, Australia, and Thailand. Manufacturing facilities in Thailand and Brazil are underway, and commitments are being made to build in Hungary and Indonesia.

BYDDY’s latest ultra-cheap car enhances its competitiveness against TSLA, which still struggles with affordability. Yet, BYDDY’s product portfolio spans all market segments, evidenced by the unveiling of a supercar aimed at the premium end of the EV market spectrum.

Ending 2023 with record-breaking sales, surpassing 3 million annual sales and retaining its global NEV sales champion status for the second consecutive year, BYDDY has solidified its position as China's best-selling car brand and manufacturer.

Analysts project robust growth for BYDDY in the fiscal year 2024, with its revenue and EPS expected to increase by 28.6% and 3.2% year-over-year, respectively, reaching $107.29 billion and $3.00.

In contrast, TSLA's revenue for fiscal year 2024 is forecasted to grow 9.9% year-over-year to $106.30 billion, while its EPS is anticipated to decline by 8.4% to $2.86. Moreover, Tesla missed the consensus revenue and EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, which is concerning.

Given this scenario, BYDDY could challenge TSLA’s dominance, making it an attractive investment opportunity in the current market landscape.

Warren Buffett's Oil Investments: Insights Into Berkshire Hathaway's Oil Holdings

Warren Buffett, a prominent billionaire investor known for his investments through Berkshire Hathaway, holds significant investments in the oil sector, with holdings in Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY).

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) owns 126.1 million shares of CVX, valued at $1.5 billion. This ownership stake represents about 6.7% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Berkshire’s purchase of shares in CVX during the fourth quarter of 2023 is seen as a significant endorsement of Chevron’s $53 billion merger with Hess Corporation (HES), announced on October 23. This move is interpreted as a strong vote of confidence for Chevron's investors and the oil and gas sector as a whole.

Additionally, per Berkshire Hathaway’s February shareholder letter, the multinational investment firm holds a 27.8% stake in OXY and has warrants that could increase its ownership further at a fixed price.

“We particularly like its vast oil and gas holdings in the United States, as well as its leadership in carbon-capture initiatives, though the economic feasibility of this technique has yet to be proven,” Buffett said, “Both of these activities are very much in our country’s interest.”

In November, Occidental Petroleum and BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced a joint investment of $550 million in Occidental’s direct air capture plant, Stratos, located in West Texas. The plant is anticipated to commence operations by the middle of the upcoming year.

Direct air capture (DAC) technology differs from traditional carbon capture methods because it extracts carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere instead of capturing emissions at the source, such as at industrial facilities like steel plants.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 27 DAC plants have been commissioned globally to date, with plans for at least 130 DAC facilities in several stages of development. Both Occidental Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) estimate that DAC could evolve into a multi-trillion-dollar market for oil producers by 2050 as scale brings costs down.

Warren Buffett has expressed admiration for Vicki Hollub, the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, who is the first woman to lead a major American oil company. “Under Vicki Hollub’s leadership, Occidental is doing the right things for both its country and its owners,” Buffett stated. “No one knows what oil prices will do over the next month, year, or decade.”

“But Vicki does know how to separate oil from rock, and that’s an uncommon talent, valuable to her shareholders and her country,” he added.

Understanding the Dynamics of the Energy Sector

Also, Berkshire's investments consider the dynamics of the energy sector, including factors such as supply and demand trends, geopolitical events, and technological advancements. Oil prices climbed above $90 per barrel last week. This surge was attributed to tensions in the Middle East, concerns regarding tightening supply, and optimistic expectations about demand growth amid improving economies.

Brent crude passed around $91 per barrel on Friday, taking its gains for the year to 18%. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude, closely linked to U.S. gasoline prices, has been even stronger, with 21% gains. Both benchmark crude oil prices settled at their highest levels since October 2023.

The oil market could see prices rise to $100 per barrel, especially if OPEC+ maintains its production cuts and extends them further into the second half of the year. This scenario is supported by expectations of robust demand, particularly in the second half, driven by economic growth and increased consumption.

Vitol’s Muller told on Gulf Intelligence’s Daily Energy Markets podcast that he anticipates a significant uptick in refined product demand globally, at around 2 million barrels per day (bpd) than in the same period last year.

This bullish outlook is echoed by experts like Bob McNally, founder of consultancy Rapidan Energy and a former White House adviser, who told Bloomberg Television in an interview that the market is currently “on firm fundamental footing.”

“I think $100 oil is entirely real — it just requires a little more risk pricing on the true geopolitical risk,” McNally added.

Now, let’s review the fundamentals of CVX and OXY in detail:

Chevron Corporation (CVX)

With a $299.80 billion market cap, CVX engages in integrated energy and chemicals operations internationally. It produces crude oil and natural gas; manufactures transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, and additives; and develops technologies that enhance its business and the industry.

The company also aims to grow its traditional oil and gas business, lower the carbon intensity of its operations, and expand its new lower carbon business in renewable fuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, and other emerging technologies.

On April 4, Chevron New Energies (CNE), a CVX division, announced a lead investment in ION Clean Energy (ION), a Boulder-based tech company that provides post-combustion point-source capture technology through its third-generation ICE-31 liquid amine system. ION raised $45 million in Series A financing led by CNE. 

“We continue to make progress on our goal to deliver the full value chain of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) as a business, and we believe ION is a part of this solution,” said Chris Powers, vice president of CCUS & Emerging with CNE.

Also, on March 19, CNE and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that offers a framework to evaluate the export of Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) from Japan to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects located in Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2023, CVX’s total revenues and other income declined 16.5% year-over-year to $47.18 billion. Its total adjusted earnings and adjusted EPS decreased 17.8% and 15.6% over the prior-year quarter to $6.45 billion and $3.5, respectively.

However, the company’s worldwide and U.S. net oil-equivalent production set annual records. Worldwide production increased 4% from a year ago to more than 3.1 barrels of oil-equivalent per day, primarily due to the acquisition of PDC Energy, Inc. (PDC) and growth in the Permian Basin, up 10% from 2022. This was led by 14% growth in the U.S.

Last year, CVX returned more cash to shareholders and produced more oil and gas than any other year in the company’s history. Cash returned to shareholders was nearly $26 billion for the full year, 18% higher than the prior year’s total.

The company’s Board of Directors further declared an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.63 per share, paid on March 11, 2024, to all holders of common stock, as shown on the transfer records of the corporation at the close of business on February 16, 2024.

CVX’s annual dividend of $6.52 translates to a yield of 4.03% on the current share price. Its four-year average dividend yield is 4.43%. Moreover, the company’s dividend payouts have increased at CAGRs of 6.08% and 6.3% over the past three and five years, respectively.

For 2024, CVX announced an expected organic capital expenditure range of $15.5 to $16.5 billion for consolidated subsidiaries (capex) and an affiliate capital expenditure (affiliate capex) budget of around $3 billion. With the acquisition of PDC Energy, Chevron announced an annual capex guidance range of $14 to $16 billion through 2027.

Following the completion of the Hess acquisition, which is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2024, CVX’s annual capex budget is expected to increase significantly to a range of $19 billion to $22 billion.

Analysts expect CVX’s revenue for the fiscal year (ending December 2024) to increase by 1.8% year-over-year to $204.64 billion. However, the consensus EPS estimate of $12.82 for the current year indicates a decline of 2.4% year-over-year.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY)

With a market cap of $60.94 billion, OXY is a global energy company with assets primarily in the U.S., the Middle East, and North Africa. The company is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the U.S., including a leading producer in the Permian and DJ basins and offshore Gulf of Mexico. 

On February 8, OXY’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.22 per share on common stock, payable on April 15, 2024, to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 8, 2024. The annual dividend per share has increased to $0.88 from its previous rate of $0.72.

OXY’s annual dividend translates to a yield of 1.27% on the current share price. Its four-year average yield is 3.44%. The company’s dividend payments have grown at a CAGR of 5.7% over the past three years.

On December 11, 2023, OXY entered a purchase agreement to acquire Midland-based oil and gas producer CrownRock L.P., a joint venture of CrownQuest Operating LLC and Lime Rock Partners. This acquisition is anticipated to deliver increased free cash flow on a share basis, including $1 billion in the first year based on $70 per barrel WTI.

The acquisition further complements and strengthens Occidental’s leading Permian portfolio by adding around 170 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (Mboed) of high-margin, lower-decline unconventional production in 2024 and approximately 1,700 undeveloped locations. It enhances the company’s resource base and growth potential in the region.

During the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2023, OXY’s revenues and other income decreased 9.6% year-over-year to $7.53 billion. Its income before income taxes declined 35% from the prior year’s quarter to $1.56 billion. Its non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.74, down 54% year-over-year.

Furthermore, the company’s current liabilities increased to $9.15 billion as of December 31, 2023, compared to $7.76 billion as of December 31, 2022.

Street expects OXY’s revenue and EPS for the first quarter (ending March 2024) to decline 9.4% and 45.8% year-over-year to $6.58 billion and $0.59, respectively. For the fiscal year 2024, the consensus EPS estimate of $3.37 indicates a decrease of 8.9% year-over-year.

However, the company’s revenue for the ongoing year is expected to increase 2.5% year-over-year to $29.63 billion.

Bottom Line

Warren Buffett’s investments in the oil sector through Berkshire Hathaway have garnered attention, particularly with holdings in CVX and OXY. Hathaway’s oil investments are also aligned with the demand-supply dynamics in the energy sector. The recent surge in oil prices, driven by tensions in the Middle East, supply constraints, and an optimistic demand outlook, reflects the evolving landscape that Buffett’s investments navigate.

While rising oil prices, production growth, strategic acquisitions and investments, and continued commitment to rewarding shareholders via dividends make CVX an attractive option for long-term investors seeking growth, the company continues to face several challenges, including commodity price dependence, higher operational costs, and uncertainty in the energy transition.

Chevron's core business in oil and gas exploration (upstream) makes it susceptible to boom-and-bust cycles in commodity prices. The company’s earnings dropped in 2023 due to lower oil and gas prices and reduced refining profits, highlighting the ongoing challenge of staying profitable amid market changes. Also, analysts have presented a mixed outlook for 2024.

CVX also faces cost headwinds, with its operating expenses trending upward and inflationary pressures threatening to squeeze margins further. Moreover, the global shift toward renewable energy presents a long-term challenge for oil and gas companies. 

Regarding OXY, its investments in low-carbon ventures, strategic acquisitions, and technology advancements present numerous opportunities for growth and industry leadership. However, the company must also tackle challenges related to its reliance on commodity prices, managing operational costs and debt obligations, and navigating global economic uncertainties.

While Occidental’s last reported earnings topped analyst estimates, they dropped compared to year-ago values. Further, analysts appear bearish about the company’s financial performance this year.

Staying profitable in such a volatile environment requires strategic resilience, efficient cost management, and a focus on operational excellence to navigate through boom-and-bust cycles effectively. So, given the mixed performance and outlook for CVX and OXY, investors may consider waiting for a better entry point before investing in these stocks.

While Buffett’s endorsement and long-term investment strategy hold weight, it’s essential to assess the companies’ financial health, growth prospects, and industry trends comprehensively.

3 Renewable Energy Stocks Aligning Shareholder Values Amidst BAC Environmental Backlash

Two years ago, The New York Times disclosed Bank of America’s (BAC) decision to cease financing coal mines, coal-burning power plants, and Arctic drilling projects due to environmental concerns. However, the bank has now reversed its stance, subjecting such projects to “enhanced due diligence” in its latest environmental and social-risk policy.

Amid mounting Republican opposition to corporate consideration of environmental and social factors, Texas and West Virginia have introduced financial regulations to resist denying banking services to fossil fuel companies. In New Hampshire, legislators aim to outlaw ESG (environmental, social, and governance) practices in business, reflecting a broader political backlash.

In this context, coupled with global tensions in Europe and the Middle East, banks such as BAC and JPMorgan are shifting focus away from ESG principles, as evidenced by JPMorgan's retreat in its annual climate report, toward practices emphasizing energy security.

Simultaneously, the combustion of fossil fuels remains the primary driver of global warming. The United Nations warns that rising temperatures alter weather patterns and disrupt natural equilibrium, intensifying extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts, and heatwaves, exacerbating their frequency and severity.

These shifts are already manifesting tangible impacts. In 2023, the Amazon basin faced drinking water shortages due to historically low rainfall. Catalonia, Spain, declared a state of emergency earlier this year due to the "worst drought in modern history," illustrating the immediate consequences of climate change.

Given the recent backlash against BAC's environmental stance and the urgency of climate change, it's crucial to prioritize sustainable investments and align portfolios with ecological values. The three renewable energy stocks discussed below exemplify solid environmental commitments and long-term sustainability goals.

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE)

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE), a prominent utility giant, is reshaping the renewable energy panorama with remarkable advancements in wind and solar energy production. Leveraging its subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, and substantial investments in clean energy, the company has emerged as a pivotal force driving the nation's shift towards sustainable power origins.

In 2023, NEE achieved more than 9% growth in full-year adjusted earnings per share compared to 2022. The success was attributed to robust operational and financial performance across FPL and NextEra Energy Resources, surpassing adjusted earnings expectations and consistently delivering long-term shareholder value.

Over the past decade, NEE has consistently delivered compound annual growth in adjusted EPS of approximately 10%, the highest among the top-10 power companies. In contrast, other top companies in the sector have seen an average compound annual growth in adjusted EPS of around 2% during the same period.

NEE achieved its best-ever year for new renewables and storage origination in 2023, adding approximately 9,000 megawatts to its backlog. Anticipating a substantial surge in electricity demand due to factors like artificial intelligence, electrification, and cloud capacity, CEO John Ketchum forecasts an 81% increase in electricity demand over the next five years.

Renewable generation could triple or more, reaching 370 to 450 gigawatts, to meet this demand. To meet this increasing demand, NEE has developed a system to identify suitable locations for new data centers based on solar and wind resources and transmission line access. This should bode well for the company's growth.

For fiscal 2024, NEE maintains its adjusted earnings per share expectations between $3.23 and $3.43. Projected growth for 2025 and 2026 is set at 6% to 8% based on the 2024 range, translating to $3.45 to $3.70 for 2025 and $3.63 to $4.00 for 2026.

Clearway Energy, Inc. (CWEN)

Clearway Energy, Inc. (CWEN) is one of the United States’ largest renewable energy proprietors, boasting approximately 6,000 net megawatts (MW) of installed wind, solar, and energy storage projects. Among its assets are about 8,500 net MW, including roughly 2,500 net MW of environmentally friendly, highly efficient natural gas generation facilities.

The preceding year, CWEN committed around $215 million to new long-term corporate capital investments and secured new Resource Adequacy contracts at Marsh Landing and El Segundo, providing greater visibility into future growth opportunities.

In December 2023, CWEN's indirect subsidiary acquired a stake in Texas Solar Nova 1, a 252 MW operational solar venture in Kent County, Texas, for $23 million in cash. Supported by power purchase agreements with reliable counterparties, this project showcases CWEN's dedication to sustainable energy initiatives.

With total liquidity reaching $1,505 million by December 31, 2023, a $139 million increase from the previous year, CWEN demonstrated robust financial health. This was bolstered by refinancing the revolving credit facility, raising its total capacity to $700 million, and additional project-level restricted cash from growth investments.

In 2023, CWEN's Cash Available for Distribution (CAFD) landed within its revised guidance range of $330 million to $360 million, totaling $342 million. In the fourth quarter, the company achieved commercial operations on Daggett 2 and Texas Solar Nova 1, positioning itself for further CAFD growth in 2024 and beyond.

Committing approximately $215 million to new corporate capital deployments in 2023, CWEN aims for an average five-year annual CAFD yield of about 10%, diversifying its portfolio further. The company announced a 1.7% dividend increase for the quarter, targeting a 7% growth rate for 2024.

Reaffirming its CAFD guidance of $395 million for 2024, CWEN remains on track to achieve its long-term growth targets. Moreover, with a sponsor's 29-gigawatt renewable pipeline, CWEN anticipates significant asset additions to its portfolio by the mid-decade, ensuring sustained growth and delivering competitively priced energy while reducing risk.

Investors can anticipate a robust growth trajectory from CWEN's sponsor, which will translate into substantial asset augmentation for CWEN's portfolio in the coming years.

Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure plc (AY)

Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure plc (AY) specializes in sustainable infrastructures, focusing on renewable energy assets with a robust portfolio of 2.2 GW operating assets spread across North and South America and the EMEA region.

In March, AY finalized the acquisition of two wind assets in Scotland, marking its entry into the United Kingdom market. These assets are regulated under U.K. green attribute regulations and have a combined installed capacity of 32 MW.

AY also saw significant progress in its U.S. development team last year, with several new solar assets reaching commercial operation. Presently, the company has three fully contracted projects under construction or about to start construction in the U.S. Southwest, benefiting from the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

The company's renewal pipeline has expanded by 12% compared to last year. On March 1, 2024, AY committed or earmarked $175 million to $220 million in new investments, predominantly allocated to solar and storage projects in the United States, representing a significant portion of its investment target.

AY expects to supplement this with additional developments and targeted acquisitions. Most of the company’s investments will be directed toward solar and storage projects already contracted in the United States, including Coso 1, Coso 2, and a new project called Overnight, alongside investments in other geographies such as South America and Europe.

Such strategic investments are poised to enhance AY's prospects significantly. In full-year 2023, AY's revenue remained stable at $1,099.9 million, with adjusted EBITDA reaching $794.9 million, showcasing a 1.7% increase from 2022. Cash available for distribution totaled $235.7 million, aligning with yearly guidance.

Looking ahead to 2024, AY anticipates adjusted EBITDA in the range of $800 million to $850 million and cash available for distribution from $220 million to $270 million, reflecting its continued growth trajectory and commitment to sustainable infrastructure development.

Bottom Line

The transition toward renewable energy is one of our time's most significant investment trends, with trillions of dollars set to be invested in decarbonizing the economy over the upcoming decades. This investment surge is expected to fuel above-average growth for companies focused on renewable energy sectors in the years ahead.

Despite natural gas maintaining its position as the primary fuel source for U.S. power generation, accounting for more than 40% of generation in the fourth quarter of 2023, most new capacity additions have been concentrated in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and battery storage.

Natural gas benefits from its abundant availability and low cost in the United States, while coal's contribution to generation fell to 16% in the fourth quarter of 2023, down from 19% in the same period in 2022. Renewables (excluding hydroelectricity) saw their market share increase to 16% in the fourth quarter of 2023, with solar accounting for approximately 3.5% and wind comprising 12.5% of utility-scale generation.

Further, forecasts predict wind and solar to rise to nearly 45% of generation by 2032, marking a significant increase from current levels. Much of this growth is expected to come at the expense of coal, which is forecasted to continue declining due to its high emission profile.

Investing in renewable energy stocks presents a compelling opportunity amid changing environmental landscapes and evolving market dynamics. These companies are distinguished by their strong commitments to sustainable energy initiatives and consistent financial performance.

Leading utility company NEE is at the forefront of renewable energy transformation, with substantial investments in wind and solar energy production driving the nation's transition towards sustainable energy sources. The company's consistent growth in adjusted earnings per share highlights its resilience and potential for long-term value creation.

Emerging players such as CWEN and AY are also making significant strides in renewable energy ownership, boasting diverse portfolios of wind, solar, and energy storage projects. Their strategic investments and steady cash flow generation position them for continued growth in alignment with the rising demand for renewable energy solutions.

As renewable energy stocks are expected to remain relevant amid growing efforts to combat climate change worldwide, consider adding NEE, CWEN, and AY to your portfolio now.

The Intel (INTC) Conundrum: When Will the Bleeding Stop?

Prominent chipmaker Intel Corporation’s (INTC) shares plunged more than 14% over the past five days. This downward trend follows the revelation that Intel incurred a significant operating loss of $7 billion last year for its chip-manufacturing unit, also called the foundry business, about 35% worse than in 2022. The unit reported revenue of $18.90 billion for 2023, down 31% year-over-year.

During an investor presentation, INTC’s CEO Patrick Gelsinger discussed the company's projections, stating that 2024 would likely mark the peak of operating losses for its chipmaking division. He mentioned that Intel anticipates reaching break-even on an operating basis by around 2027.

Pat Gelsinger further acknowledged challenges in the company’s foundry business, attributing to poor decisions, including one year ago against extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machines from the Dutch company ASML Holding N.V. (ASML). Although these machines can cost more than $150 million, they are considered more cost-effective compared to earlier chip-making tools.

Partially due to these missteps, Intel has outsourced approximately 30% of its total wafer production to external contract manufacturers like TSMC, Gelsinger added. The company’s goal is to lower this number to around 20%.

Additionally, the semiconductor giant has now transitioned to using EUV tools, which are expected to handle an increasing portion of production requirements as older machinery is phased out.

“In the post EUV era, we see that we're very competitive now on price, performance (and) back to leadership,” Gelsinger stated. “And in the pre-EUV era we carried a lot of costs and (were) uncompetitive.”

However, on a negative note, investment bank Bernstein analysts recently remarked that there is no compelling reason to hold Intel stock until 2030.

Bernstein recognizes the potential for improvement in Intel’s foundry business, given the significant loss incurred last year and the optimistic projection for achieving a 25-30% operating margin by 2030.

However, analysts cautioned, suggesting that the road ahead for INTC might be challenging, even with the seemingly ambitious targets. They noted that reaching break-even may not happen until after 2027, and the ambitious goals set for 2030 are speculative and dependent on achieving optimal progress, which remains a topic of debate.

In the last reported earnings, INTC surpassed analysts’ estimates on revenue and EPS. However, the chipmaker announced a weak forecast for the current quarter. For the quarter that ended December 31, 2023, INTC’s net revenue increased 10% year-over-year to $15.40 billion. This surpassed the consensus revenue estimate of $15.17 billion.

Also, net income attributable to Intel was $2.70 billion, compared to a net loss of $700 million in the previous year’s period. The company reported an EPS of $0.63, compared to analysts’ estimate of $0.22, and a loss per share of $0.16 in the same quarter of 2022.

However, as of September 30, 2023, the company’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $7.07 billion versus $11.14 billion as of December 31, 2022.

Intel’s fourth-quarter 2023 report marked a return to growth after eight consecutive quarters of decreasing earnings and seven straight quarters of declining sales on a year-over-year basis. But for the first quarter, the chip company projected adjusted EPS of just $13 on sales of $12.70 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $0.14 per share on revenue of $12.78 billion.

During an earnings call, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger stated that the company’s first-quarter sales would be impacted by difficulties at Mobileye, where Intel holds a majority stake, and in its programmable chip unit.

Gelsinger also mentioned that Intel’s core businesses, particularly PC and server chips, were performing strongly, with sales expected to fall within the lower end of the seasonal range.

On March 21, INTC announced plans to invest $100 billion in constructing and expanding chip factories across four states in the U.S., following securing $19.50 billion in federal grants and loans and wishes to secure another $25 billion in tax breaks.

Intel’s primary focus in its five-year spending plan is to convert undeveloped land near Columbus, Ohio, into what CEO Pat Gelsinger described as “the largest AI chip manufacturing site in the world,” with potential commencement in 2027.

In addition, the chip giant intends to revamp sites in New Mexico and Oregon while expanding its presence in Arizona. This initiative aligns with rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSM) construction of a massive factory in Arizona, leveraging President Joe Biden's efforts to bolster advanced semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

Intel was at the forefront of the semiconductor industry for decades and was known for producing the fastest and smallest chips. The company commanded premium prices for its products and reinvested its profits into continuous research and development (R&D), aiming to stay ahead of its competitors.

However, in the 2010s, INTC’s manufacturing superiority waned, particularly in comparison to TSM. This shift resulted in a significant drop in profit margins as Intel had to lower prices to maintain its market share, even though its products were perceived as less competitive than its rivals.

In 2021, Gelsinger unveiled a strategy to restore Intel to its former top position in the semiconductor market, acknowledging the necessity of government support to ensure the plan’s profitability. With the federal support secured, the chipmaker is now gearing up for substantial investments.

Gelsinger mentioned that approximately 30% of the $100 billion budget will be earmarked for construction expenses, covering labor, piping, and concrete. The remaining funds will be utilized to acquire chipmaking tools from firms like ASML, Tokyo Electron, Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT), and KLA Corporation (KLAC), among others.

Moreover, Intel's strategy for business turnaround hinges on persuading external companies to use its manufacturing services. In February, INTC announced that Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) plans to use its services to manufacture a tailored computing chip. Moreover, the company expressed optimism about exceeding its internal target of surpassing TSM in advanced chip manufacturing before 2025.

As a part of this plan, INTC recently told investors it would start reporting the results of its manufacturing operations as a separate unit.

Intel’s new reporting structure, effective from the first quarter of 2024, includes operating segments such as Client Computing Group (CCG), Data Center and AI (DCAI), Network and Edge (NEX), Intel Foundry, Altera (now Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group), Mobileye, and Other. CCG, DCAI, and NEX will be collectively known as Intel Products, while Altera, Mobileye, and Other will be referred to as All Other.

The newly established Intel Foundry segment, including foundry technology development, foundry manufacturing and supply chain, and foundry services, will recognize revenues generated from external foundry customers and Intel Products, along with technology development and product manufacturing costs historically allocated to Intel Products.

Intel’s CFO, Dave Zinsner stated, “This model is designed to unlock significant cost savings, operational efficiencies and asset value. As it begins to take hold, we expect to accelerate on our path toward achieving our ambition of 60% non-GAAP gross margins and 40% non-GAAP operating margins in 2030. Ultimately, improved cost competitiveness will help us deliver process technology, product, and foundry leadership while driving significant financial upside for Intel and our owners.”

Bottom Line

Last week, INTC confirmed its intention to separate the financial results of its foundry business, providing investors with a closer look at its historical performance. However, the revealed figures were disappointing: the foundry business suffered losses of nearly $7 billion in 2023, a 35% increase in losses compared to 2022, alongside a 31% decrease in sales.

Along with these figures, the company stressed that the new financial reporting structure is designed to boost cost discipline and higher returns by offering enhanced transparency, accountability, and incentives across the business. Moreover, this transition is expected to unlock unrealized value across Intel’s about $100 billion in capital assets.

Last month, Intel unveiled plans to spend those $100 billion on building or expanding chip factories in four U.S. states. As part of its turnaround strategy, the chipmaker aims to convince external companies to utilize its manufacturing services. The company has been heavily investing to compete with its main chipmaking rivals, including TSM and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Despite Intel’s optimism about turning the business around and achieving break-even by 2027, with a projected adjusted operating profit margin of 30% by 2030, analysts, including those at Bernstein, are cautious. They view Intel’s forecast as overly ambitious, suggesting that actual margins might only reach 25% by 2030.

Further, CNBC’s Jim Cramer advises investors to avoid investing in Intel despite the company’s turnaround plans.

While INTC is actively pursuing its turnaround initiatives, it currently encounters significant challenges, including underperformance within its foundry business, fierce competition, and cash burn. So, it could be wise to steer clear of this stock now.

Buying the Dip or Selling the Rally: Timing Your Moves in Boeing’s Stock

The Boeing Company (BA), renowned for its innovation and dominance in the aerospace sector, has recently found itself in turbulent skies. In January 2024, the company faced severe criticism following an unfortunate incident involving a commercial Boeing 737 Max 9. During ascent, the door panel dislodged, resulting in a substantial opening on the side of the aircraft.

This unsettling event marked the start of a challenging year for BA in 2024 and brought renewed attention to the Boeing 737 Max planes, which have already been involved in two past crashes in 2018 and 2019, killing almost 346 people.

In addition, it also highlighted broader concerns about the quality control of BA’s planes, including how they are made, parts storage, and the rush to meet production deadlines.

According to an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), BA failed 33 out of 89 product audits related to its plane manufacturing, which is highly concerning. As a prominent commercial aircraft manufacturer, Boeing plays a crucial role in the aviation industry; however, its recent errors have raised significant concerns about the overall integrity of the industry.

As a result of this January mishap, which was followed by heightened scrutiny from the FAA, BA is experiencing a major production slowdown. The FAA has set a production limit of 38 jets per month for BA, but the actual output has often fallen well below this threshold, dipping to single digits by late March.

Conversely, Airbus SE (EADSF), BA’s major industry rival, maintains a comparably strong production pace for its A320neo-family jets, with an average of 46 flights per month in the first quarter of 2024. According to BA’s Chief Financial Officer, Brian West, the company is implementing various measures to tackle quality issues and boost confidence among stakeholders.

Despite BA's attempts to restore confidence in the company's prospects among its stakeholders, the recent news of BA’s CEO David Calhoun stepping down underscores the immense pressure BA is currently facing.

Furthermore, BA’s chairman, Larry Kellner, has opted not to stand for re-election as a board director. Instead, the board has chosen former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf to take his place.

Meanwhile, Stan Deal, the CEO of BA Commercial Airplanes, is retiring, and Stephanie Pope, who has been serving as BA’s chief operating officer since January, will step into his role.

In a letter addressed to BA employees, Calhoun characterized the January Alaska Airlines incident as a critical juncture for BA. Highlighting his intentions to step down, Calhoun emphasized the global scrutiny the company is facing. The letter further assured stakeholders of the company's commitment to resolving the issues and guiding it toward recovery and stability.

Calhoun’s departure amid intense criticism from major airline CEOs further highlights the company's difficulties. For instance, some of BA’s key customers, including Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, Europe's biggest airline, and Scott Kirby, the CEO of United Airlines, have expressed disappointment with BA’s quality issues and delivery delays.

CEO Scott Kirby of United Airlines referred to the Alaska Airlines incident as a tipping point in their plans to acquire the BA’s Max 10 this year as originally intended. Consequently, they are now exploring the option of purchasing aircraft from BA’s competitor, Airbus, to replace the Max 10s they had ordered.

Bottom Line

With its shares down roughly 23% over the past three months, there is no denying that BA is currently going through its worst-ever crisis. The company's future is uncertain as the company’s CEO steps down, and the successor remains undecided.

Meanwhile, BA's recent quarterly results exceeded analyst expectations. The airline company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $22.02 billion, surpassing the $19.98 billion revenue in the prior year quarter and the consensus estimate of $21.08 billion.

During the same quarter, the company reported a non-GAAP core loss per share of $0.47, an improvement from the loss per share of $1.75 in the prior-year quarter and lower than analysts' estimate of $0.79. However, its free cash flow dropped 5.8% from the year-ago value, reaching $2.95 billion.

The company has reaffirmed its financial targets for 2025 and 2026, which include reaching approximately $10 billion in free cash flow and achieving $100 billion in revenue by as early as next year.

Despite exceeding analyst expectations for the fourth quarter, BA’s forthcoming quarterly results could hinder the company’s financial goals due to production delays and major airline customers choosing to procure aircraft from Airbus.

Furthermore, the company’s decision to withhold 2024 guidance during the recent earnings highlights the uncertainty surrounding its commercial airplane deliveries for this year. This uncertainty, ongoing production challenges, leadership shakeup, and customer preference shifts cast a shadow over BA’s prospects.

To that end, investing in BA’s shares might not be wise now. Investors could monitor the company for further developments and wait for clarity on its future direction.