Tesla’s high-flying stock lost some substantial altitude over the past few days, as a number of negative news items hit the wires.
The stage was set by the growing realization that the company isn’t likely to reach its Model 3 production target of 2,500 units per week any time soon. Then a fatal Model X crash in California, during which Autopilot was engaged, tipped TSLA into freefall. From the low 300s, where the stock has been trading for the past few weeks, it slipped to the 250 range.
The press pounced. The expected flurry of Seeking Alpha posts crowed about the automaker’s imminent demise, and even mainstream media outlets were asking if Tesla “had a future.” Once the “Tesla’s in trouble” narrative became established, pundits found all kinds of negative issues to add to the “spate of bad news.” Some are valid concerns that trouble even fans of the company (reports of Model 3 fit-and-finish issues), while others are events that didn’t seem important a week earlier (Jaguar’s announcement of its I-Pace EV, turnover in the Tesla executive suite).
At the very peak of the schadenfreudefest, Elon Musk delivered a classic April Fools’ tweet, saying that Tesla was “bankwupt.” He himself was “found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by Teslaquilla bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.”
Obviously, Elon wasn’t dispirited by the newest negative nuggets, and the next day we found out why. Tesla’s production report for the first quarter of 2018 revealed that the company is now producing around 2,000 Model 3s per week – short of the overoptimistic predictions of the past, but more than enough to make the new sedan the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the US.
On this news, plus the assurance that the company won’t need a new capital raise this year (as many financial pundits had predicted) the stock stopped its slide and bounced back into the 260 range. However, the rollercoaster ride may not be over yet – news that China plans to add EVs to the list of US products that will be slapped with new tariffs triggered another steep but short-lived sell-off.
Enjoy the ride, but hold onto your hats.