The stock market eased lower on Thursday morning, giving back some of its gains from earlier in the week. Yet the drop was modest, with the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) declining about 0.25% as of noon EDT.
Among those Nasdaq stocks that managed to find ways to gain ground even in a tough market was a lot of diversity. Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) has become a giant in the tech industry, while Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE) hopes to find that level of success despite considerable recent challenges. Below, we’ll look at both stocks to see what’s moving them on Thursday.
Zoom gets a vote of confidence
Shares of Zoom Video Communications were higher by 3% at midday Thursday. The video collaboration services provider earned favorable comments from stock analysts on Wall Street, buoying investor sentiment more broadly.
The kind words came from Morgan Stanley, which boosted its rating on Zoom from equal weight to overweight. The analyst set a $400 price target, up $40 from its previous view, arguing that investors have gotten too pessimistic about how successful Zoom will be as the economy continues to reopen. Even if churn does move higher in the short run, Morgan Stanley believes that less unfavorable conditions for profit margin, as well as greater digital adoption among big businesses, should drive better results than most are looking to see from Zoom.
The upgrade comes as Zoom prepares to report its second-quarter results next week. Shareholders are bracing themselves for tough comparisons given the huge growth that Zoom posted during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in the year-ago period.
Despite decelerating growth, Zoom is making aggressive strategic moves, most notably its acquisition of cloud contact-center platform provider Five9. Whatever founder and CEO Eric Yuan says about that acquisition and other aspects of Zoom’s business could make a huge difference in what happens to the stock in the months ahead.
Lordstown gets a new leader
Meanwhile, shares of Lordstown Motors motored higher by 21%. The boost came as the aspiring electric truck company announced a new CEO.
Daniel Ninivaggi will take over the leadership role at Lordstown, filling the vacancy that former CEO and founder Steven Burns created when he resigned in June. Burns and former CFO Julio Rodriguez left the company after an internal investigation by the board of directors found evidence of inaccurate statements regarding preorders of its planned electric trucks. That left the company struggling, and the stock fell nearly 75% from where it started 2021.
Ninivaggi could be just what Lordstown needs to reboot its business. He served as CEO of the publicly traded partnership founded by activist investor Carl Icahn, and his work in the automotive industry includes stints at Lear and Federal-Mogul. Ninivaggi has also served on the boards of other players in the transportation sector, including truck maker Navistar and rental car giant Hertz.
Shareholders are hopeful that Ninivaggi can turn Lordstown around. It won’t come easy given the high levels of competition in the industry, but the odds of success are a whole lot better now than they were before the EV maker got its new CEO.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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