Pro Perspectives 8/20/20

August 20, 2020

Yesterday, we talked about the $2 trillion valuation of Apple. 

And we observed the disconnect between the value of the biggest company in the world, and the value of the most important natural resource in the world.  While Apple has doubled over the past two years, the price of oil has about halved.  

What’s the relationship?  Well, one might think that the performance of Apple is a proxy on the global economy — foretelling, not just an aggressive economic recovery, but one where global asset prices (generally) will be inflated by the excess stimulus money floating around.  

Maybe you would expect something like this relationship we saw through the economic ebbs and flows of 2016-2019 …

This relationship hasn’t happened.  Oil has only returned to pre-lockdown levels (flat-ish). While Apple is up 80% over the same period.

Interestingly, Tesla has also made a huge run since the Pandemic was globally recognized back in early March.  The stock has more than tripled from that point — and up nearly 6x from the lows of mid March. 

Does this have anything to do with oil?  Maybe.  It may have a lot to do with oil and climate change activism. 

Climate change activists believe that climate change is an existential threat to the world.  And because they view Trump as a climate change denier, they have explicitly said he is an existential threat to the world.  

If they believe he is an existential threat, to what extent would they be willing to fight to remove him from office?  At the very least, let’s just say that the virus has created a path to his removal. 
With that, consider that the financial backing of climate change activism is nearly unlimited.  A group called Climate Action 100+ has the most powerful investors in the world (representing $32 trillion in assets under management).  And they  are dictating how major energy companies are deploying capital on new projects – forcing the pivot to climate responsible initiatives.  And then you have every major global government entity/cooperative behind the activist movement, feeding the effort with cash and subsidies.   
Now, with that, it seems clear that global capital has indiscriminately plowed into Tesla (likely by the entities mentioned above), as if this company represents the contra-oil industry.  If that’s the case, at a market cap of $360 billion, Tesla as an “industry”, relative to oil and gas, is cheap.