Tesla Is Tanking

Tesla’s stock has fallen below $US200 per share in trading on Tuesday.

It’s now down 3% for the session, at $US198.

Earlier, it dropped as low at $US195.

This is the first time since June that Tesla has traded at this level.

The last time shares closed below $US200 was in May. In the last few months, though, Tesla has been getting hammered. It hit a trading peak of $US291 on Sept. 4. If its slide continues, the stock will have shed about 47% since peaking.

Tesla stock swooned in late September, but recovered in early October when CEO Elon Musk announced the arrival of an all-wheel-drive version of the company’s Model S sedan, the “D.”

The recent decline, however, has seen Tesla plunge even lower than its September trough. 

The prevailing theory to explain all this is that as the price of oil collapses, Tesla’s all-electric vehicles become less appealing — so it’s more difficult to defend a stock that’s up over 1,000% since the company’s 2010 IPO. 

There’s far-from-universal agreement on this point — Tesla has admitted that it may not be able to meet its delivery targets for 2014, has pushed back the schedule for its new Model X SUV to late 2015, and is operating in a very capital-intensive industry. So there are other good reasons for investors to turn bearish on the stock.

That said, if the stock market is a mechanism predicting the future, then it’s fairly obvious why Tesla is tanking. Cheap oil is a clear argument against electric cars, at least in the short term. Cheap oil is also an argument against hybrids and fuel-cell cars and anything that doesn’t run on gas.

This doesn’t mean that Tesla will go away — far from it. But it does mean that the stock could fall farther in 2014 and early 2015. 



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