Tesla stock might close down for the year -- and that could be a good thing

The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Russolillo tweeted on Thursday that Tesla shares are down at the end of year for the first time since the carmaker’s 2010 IPO.

It’s an accurate observation, although one that should be taken with a rather large grain of salt. After all, in 2013, the stock finished the year up over 300%.

Tesla is indeed down just over 10% in 2016, after sliding more than that at some point, but shares are also trading above $200, an important level if Tesla is to vindicate its $30-billion-plus market cap and, more importantly, establish a baseline that will make achieving Wall Street’s more bullish prediction possible.

In fact, Tesla’s slide in 2016 could be a positive thing. At the beginning of the year, it was primed for a fall, starting at $240 and plunging to almost $140.

Tesla shares are down 10% this year, making 2016 the first time that $TSLA has dropped in a calendar year since its 2010 IPO.
— Steven Russolillo (@srussolillo) December 29, 2016

As 2017 begins, shares could be more correctly priced, although that’s no comfort to investors who bought in at the start of 2016 (investors who bought at the bottom are probably quite happy, however).

The coming year will be an interesting one for Tesla investors. It’s unclear whether the stock will repeat its historic volatility — or whether it will settle into a more stable pattern.

Bear in mind that Tesla could also be tricky to properly value in 2017, as it merges the car business with the solar business, through its recent acquisition of SolarCity.

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