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Shares recover as autonomous trucking developer TuSimple’s lockup expires

Investors restricted from selling can exit but may need to cover short bets

Trading in TuSimple Holdings approached three times average volume Tuesday as a lockup on executives like founder Xiaodi Hou expire, allowing them to sell their shares. (Photo: TuSimple)

Trading in shares of TuSimple Holdings approached three times their average volume Tuesday as a lockup preventing certain investors from selling expired. After sliding for six weeks, shares ended the day 3% higher.

The autonomous trucking software developer went public in a traditional initial public offering in April that raised more than $1 billion at a valuation of more than $8 billion.

Three other autonomous trucking companies — Plus, Aurora Innovation and Embark Trucks — are in various stages of merging with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), a faster route to public trading but one under increasing scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

TuSimple (NASDAQ: TSP) debuted at about $40 a share and reached $79.84 by June 30 before beginning a precipitous decline. Shares briefly fell into the high $20s Tuesday before closing 3.26% higher at $31.34. They tacked on another 35 cents in after-hours trading. There were 6,842,882 shares traded Tuesday compared to the daily average of 2,396,129.

Volatility could continue until investors who want out of the stock make their move. If they shorted the stock — borrowed shares to bet the price would decline — they will need to cover those positions with shares they can now sell.

TuSimple, which is developing a nationwide autonomous freight network that it expects to stretch from Arizona to North Carolina by the end of the year, was featured on the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” on Sunday. 

TuSimple generated $1.5 million in income from autonomous deliveries monitored by a human safety driver in Q2. It is working with TRATON Group subsidiary Navistar on a ground-up Level 4 high autonomy version of the Class 8 International LT tractor for sale in 2024. It has about 7,000 non-binding reservations.

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.