Amid a market session that turned sour on Friday, electric vehicle (EV) upstart Mullen Automotive (NASDAQ:MULN) again provided the fireworks. Although no company-specific news appeared to contribute to the 15% moonshot in MULN stock earlier this morning, investors may be responding to a major announcement yesterday. As well, speculative interest seems to creep back into the hot but risky EV manufacturer.
As InvestorPlace Financial News Writer Samuel O’Brient stated, on Thursday, Mullen announced plans to bring its electric vans to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Specifically, Mullen entered into an agreement with aviation services provider Menzies Aviation and EV charging company Loop Global. Under the terms of the pilot program, the three entities will partner to supply Class 1 electric-powered cargo vans to LAX.
The pilot program, O’Brient noted, will last for 60 days. Menzies intends to use Mullen’s vans for multiple airport service operations, including the transportation of cleaning crews to each aircraft. In addition, Loop will provide the equipment needed to charge each electric van between shifts.
Naturally, the disclosure represents a huge fundamental lift for MULN stock. David Michery, Mullen’s chairman and CEO, stated in part that its commercial EVs “…are a natural fit for airport service and logistics operations.”
Speculative Interest Perks Up for MULN Stock
Though any business enterprise could use some good news under the presently challenged circumstances, the LAX deal couldn’t have come at a better time for MULN stock. After starting 2023 auspiciously, MULN slipped into negative territory on a year-to-date basis between Jan. 17 and Jan. 24. Now, shares stand about 30% up for the year.
Despite the lack of any other news item recently, it’s possible that speculative interest in MULN stock perked up again. According to data from Fintel, MULN’s short interest stands at 11.88% of the float. Its short interest ratio is 0.85 days to cover. While elevated against standard norms, traders may be eyeballing other compelling statistics.
First, the short borrow fee for MULN stock jumped dramatically over the past several days. Fintel reports that on Jan. 23, the cost-to-borrow rate sat at 13.77%. One week later, this stat increased to around 20%. At the latest read (approximately half an hour prior to the time of writing), the short borrow fee stood at 61.58%.
Moreover, the short shares availability metric for MULN stock experienced wild volatility. Per Fintel, this line item shows the number of shares available to be shorted at a leading prime brokerage. For yesterday’s session, the metric hit 65,000 shares. Right now, the number is zero.
Why It Matters
On Jan. 11, TipRanks reported at the time that among surveyed investors, 1.1% of all portfolios held MULN stock. Conspicuously, this group — which saw their return in Mullen shares over the past 30 days reach just under 1% — rated sentiment as “negative.”
On the flip side, 0.6% of a segment that TipRanks refers to as “top investors” held MULN stock in their portfolios. Here, sentiment rang out as “very positive.” Interestingly, during the last 30 days from Jan. 11, this group’s performance pinged at 29% up.
At the time of writing, circumstances shifted quite noticeably. Per TipRanks, 1.2% of all portfolios hold MULN stock. For this group, sentiment pings as “very negative.” In the last 30 days, its return averaged 2.5% down.
Even more interestingly, sentiment among top investors — who upped their stake to 0.8% of all portfolios — got downgraded to “neutral.” In the past month, their return in MULN stock cratered to half a percent down. Thus, even the experts can get tripped up with speculative ventures like Mullen Automotive.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto 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 InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.