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Electric vehicle companies are reeling in cash without producing a car

These are heady days for electric vehicle companies, with a lack of actual car production becoming a popular norm.

Why it matters: The capital infusion is the latest in a busy stretch of deals and market moves that suggest private investors and equity markets see big potential in technologies that now represent a tiny slice of the global vehicle fleet.

Driving the news: Fisker has reached a $2.9 billion deal to go public via a merger with an Apollo Global Management-backed special purpose acquisition company.

  • The deal unveiled Monday will bring Fisker — a member of the hasn't-built-a-car-yet club — over $1 billion in new funding, with heavyweight investors including AllianceBernstein and BlackRock-managed funds.

Catch up fast: There's a lot of private capital and, in Tesla's case, shareholder interest in electric vehicle companies lately.

  • The Fisker deal came the same day that Tesla's stock soared, at one point trading near $1,800-per-share, before cooling off to close slightly down at roughly $1,500, but still triple its value the beginning of the year.
  • On Friday, Rivian closed a $2.5 billion funding round ahead of the production launch next year of its SUV, pickup and delivery vehicles for Amazon.
  • Fisker, which hopes to launch production of its Ocean SUV in 2022, last week announced a separate $50 million fundraising round.
  • Karma Automotive, which is in the early stages of producing a plug-in hybrid sports car, has raised another $100 million.
  • Nikola Motors, which has yet to build anything but plans electric and hydrogen-powered pickups and big rigs, saw its stock price soar after going public in June via a transaction similar to Fisker's.

What they're saying: "The [electric vehicle] uprising is real, but the scale of investment into what I would view as fledgling companies is staggering," Wood Mackenzie analyst Ram Chandrasekaran tells E&E News.

  • "We are seeing a big push outside the U.S., both in Europe and China," Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker told the Axios Re:Cap podcast, citing legislative efforts in the European Union.
  • "I think coming out of COVID-19, people had a short glimpse of what the world would look like if it didn't have all these polluting gasoline cars driving around, with the blue sky showing up all over the world," Fisker added.

The intrigue: The fundraising and market success spans several business models, from SUVs to delivery fleet vehicles to heavy trucks.

  • When it comes to Rivian, their big deal with Amazon (for up to 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030) could be part of the reason why investors are jazzed.
  • Big corporate climate pledges are now the coin of the realm, so giant companies could see electric vehicle procurement as a way to help reach their goals — even if electric vehicles remain a tiny slice of the consumer market for the foreseeable future.

Of note: Legacy automakers are also rolling out more and more models. This morning BMW took the wraps off of its iX3 electric SUV.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.

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Apple sets September quarter sales record despite pandemic

Apple on Thursday reported quarterly sales and earnings that narrowly exceeded analysts estimates as the iPhone maker continued to see strong demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they's saying: The company said response to new products, including the iPhone 12 has been "tremendously positive" but did not give a specific forecast for the current quarter.

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Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism

The coronavirus pandemic is worsening, both in the U.S. and abroad, with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rising.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of global vaccine development — including why the U.S. and China seem to going at it alone — with medicinal chemist and biotech blogger Derek Lowe.

How central banks can save the world

The trillion-dollar gap between actual GDP and potential GDP is a gap made up of misery, unemployment, and unfulfilled promise. It's also a gap that can be eradicated — if central banks embrace unconventional monetary policy.

  • That's the message from Eric Lonergan and Megan Greene, two economists who reject the idea that central banks have hit a "lower bound" on interest rates. In fact, they reject the idea that "interest rates" are a singular thing at all, and they fullthroatedly reject the idea — most recently put forward by New York Fed president Bill Dudley — that the Fed is "out of firepower."

Why it matters: If Lonergan and Greene are right, then central banks have effectively unlimited ammunition in their fight to increase inflation and employment. They are limited only by political will.

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Leon Black says he "made a terrible mistake" doing business with Jeffrey Epstein

Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black on Wednesday said during an earnings call that he made a "terrible mistake" by employing Jeffrey Epstein to work on personal financial and philanthropic services.

Why it matters: Apollo is one of the world's largest private equity firms, and already has lost at least one major client over Black's involvement with Epstein.

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Jeremy Corbyn suspended by U.K. Labour Party over anti-Semitism report

The U.K. Labour Party has suspended its former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, after a watchdog report found that the party failed to properly take action against allegations of anti-Semitism during his time in charge.

Why it matters: It represents a strong break by Keir Starmer, Labour's current leader, from the Corbyn era and one of the party's most persistent scandals.

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U.S. economy sees record growth in third quarter

The U.S. economy grew at a 33.1% annualized pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

The state of play: The record growth follows easing of the coronavirus-driven lockdowns that pushed the economy to the worst-ever contraction — but GDP still remains well below its pre-pandemic level.

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Investors have nowhere to hide

The massive losses in oil prices and U.S. and European equities were not countered by gains in traditional safe-haven assets on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The unusual movement in typical hedging tools like bonds, precious metals and currencies means they are not providing investors an asset that will appreciate in the event of a major equity selloff.

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