Largest U.S. Pension Bought Up EV Stocks Nikola and NIO, and Zoom

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The largest public pension in the U.S. by assets increased its bets on makers of electric vehicles, and a videoconferencing stock in the third quarter.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, raised investments in Nikola  (NKLA) and NIO  (NIO) in the period, and nearly doubled an investment in Zoom Video Communications  (ZM). It also edged up an investment in Tesla  (TSLA). Calpers disclosed the stock trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The pension, which manages nearly $400 billion in assets, declined to comment on the investment changes.

Calpers bought 205,792 more Nikola shares to end the third quarter with 261,546 shares of the maker of trucks powered by alternative fuels. The pension had bought in a volatile period for Nikola stock. Shares have fallen in the second half of 2020, plunging 70% in the third quarter alone, and slipping 3.4% so far in the fourth quarter.

A short seller’s report in September alleged Nikola management overstated its internally developed battery and fuel-cell capabilities. The company disputed the report and called it misleading. Another negative report in November alleged that Nikola had considered using customers’ deposits to fund Nikola One, a truck in development that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Nikola also denied that allegation.


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