Tesla is tumbling -- again

  • Tesla is down 5.95% Thursday, taking the stock down 17% in the past week.
  • If it declines another 3% it will be considered to be in a bear market.

Shares of Tesla tumbled more than 5% in trading Friday, continuing a week that has been marked by slumps for the electric car maker.

On Wednesday, the company posted a smaller-than-expected fourth quarter loss as well as a slower cash burn, but it wasn’t enough to keep the stock in the green.

The stock is nearing bear market territory, defined as a 20% drop from recent highs. Since a peak of $US360.50 in January, Tesla has fallen 17.5% to $US297 Friday afternoon.

Tesla has a recurring problem of missing key production deadlines, delivering just half of the cars analysts expected last month, yet its stock price until this week has generally climbed despite the delays and negative cash flow.

“2018 will be a transformative year for Tesla, with a high level of operational scaling,” CEO Elon Musk said in an earnings press release. “As we ramp production of both Model 3 and our energy products while keeping tight control of operating expenses, our quarterly operating income should turn sustainably positive at some point in 2018.”

Wall Street, on the other hand, isn’t quite as optimistic.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg – only a third of whom have a buy rating for the stock – give Tesla an average target price of $US323, only 7% below where shares were trading Thursday morning.

“Automation fixes being done in Germany suggest that Model 3 production targets are at risk and that investors will not be surprised by such delays, which we expect will allow TSLA to push out capex payments, reducing near-term cash pressure,” analyst Colin Rusch said in a note to clients Thursday.

“We expect investors will remain split on results and that shares will trade sideways as bulls remain patient on Model 3 production.”

If the stock hits $US288.40 – 2.9% below where shares were trading Friday afternoon – Tesla will be considered to be in a bear market.

Tesla’s stock price has gained 10% in the past year, roughly in line with the S&P 500’s similar 10% rise.

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