Tesla drops in premarket after Musk lets loose on call

Posted May 05, 2018

The median price target by analysts who follow Tesla is $317. "His actions during Tesla's first-quarter earnings call Wednesday were deemed both unhinged and brilliant, spurious and authentic, cagey and candid", writes Kirsten Korosec for Fortune in compiling some of his "most interesting" comments.

Some saw the call in even more stark terms.

In the call, Musk was asked questions related to reservations of the Model 3 sedan and the company's capital requirement.

"HyperChange represented actual investors, so I switched to them", Musk wrote in another tweet. That's an apparent reference to devices Musk sold earlier this year to raise money for his tunnel-digging company Boring Co.

Musk's failure to answer questions from the analysts about Tesla's finances caused the stock to go down by 5.6 percent on Thursday.

Tesla's stock took a tumble on the NASDAQ on Thursday.

The conference call behavior was labeled freaky by some investors.

Musk said a question about capital expenditures was "boneheaded" because the information was contained in Tesla's letter to shareholders. Perhaps Musk is agitated after the death of a Tesla driver using autopilot sparked negative press about the vehicle's safety.

Musk took to Twitter Inc. Musk said the questions "are so dry", and turned instead to one from a channel on the YouTube video-streaming service. Tesla has more than 450,000 waiting orders, but it can't monetize them unless the cars can be assembled en masse. Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas said it was "the most unusual call I have experienced in 20 years on the sell-side", while Eric Schiffer, head of equity firm Patriarch Organization called it "the single greatest CEO meltdown in American auto history", Reuters reports. We caution, however, that euphoria over Model 3 accomplishments may be short-lived because there are many growth projects still needing investment. A net profit is likely by the third quarter, he said.

But now Wall Street is taking a more practical tone, increasingly questioning Musk's assertions of when the company can turn profitable. The big question from investors: Does Tesla have enough?

The fallout from Musk's statements was immediately felt by the company's stock. "In effect, Portfolio Managers and Chief Risk Officers will do what Elon Musk can not do - stop short sellers from selling", he concludes.

After the conference call cutoffs, Musk, as he has in the past, showed humility and introspection.

Although Musk has insisted the company neither needs nor wants new funding, many believe the company will seek to raise more capital by the end of 2018. For another query, concerning demand for the Model 3, he points to the more than 400,000 vehicle reservations still waiting to be filled. Tesla expects to make a second assembly plant announcement late this year. "It is high time we became profitable". "The truth is you're not a real company until you are, frankly".