stock just won’t go down. Shares were up for a sixth-consecutive day and the stock’s market capitalization is almost unfathomably large. The massive gains, however, might not be generating the wealth investors think.
Shares of the Vietnamese electric-vehicle start-up were up about 20% to about $82.50 a share. That makes the market capitalization about $190 billion. That’s more than
(F), and Chrysler parent
(STLA) combined, and more than two times
(1211.Hong Kong), the largest EV maker in China. It’s also about one-quarter of the value of
(TSLA), the largest EV maker on the planet.
The numbers don’t really make sense. VinFast isn’t profitable yet and has a fraction of the capacity of those car companies. The stock appears to be in meme-territory, which is partly possible because only 16 million or 17 million shares are available for trading. The rest of the 2.3 billion shares outstanding are held by insiders.
Still, six days and 436% is nothing to sniff at. Roughly $165 billion in market value has been created. Someone may have gotten really rich. Things aren’t that rosy though. For the shares available for trading only about $1 billion in wealth has been generated. And no investors, or maybe a few, have held the stock for six days.
About 65 million VinFast shares, and counting, have traded over the past six days. The shares available for trading have changed hands about four times. The average holding period is roughly 1.5 days.
The insiders have amassed the majority of the $165 billion in new paper wealth. Most can’t sell shares yet, however, and more stock trading likely would drive down the price. Finding someone to take thousands of shares is one thing; finding someone to take millions is quite another.
The trading has been wild. This isn’t a short squeeze either. S3 Partners told Barron’s recently that short interest in VinFast stock has dwindled to almost zero. This is traders playing with values all on their own.
Write to Al Root at email@example.com