Ending tough week, Tesla sinks to lowest level in two years

April 26, 2019

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s stock slumped over 4% on Friday to its lowest price in two years, rounding out a rough week that included worse-than-expected quarterly results and a pitch by Chief Executive Elon Musk on autonomous cars that failed to win over investors.

With investors betting Tesla will soon raise capital, the stock has fallen 13% for the week to its lowest level since January 2017, before the launch of the Model 3 sedan aimed at making the electric car maker profitable.

One positive development for Tesla: a U.S. District Court judge on Friday granted a request by Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission for a second extension to resolve a dispute over Musk’s use of Twitter.

On Wednesday, Tesla posted a worse-than-expected loss of $702 million for the March quarter. Musk said Tesla would return to profit in the third quarter and that there was “some merit” to raising capital.

Musk is still battling to convince investors that demand for the Model 3, the company’s first car aimed at the mass consumer market, is “insanely” high, and that it can be delivered efficiently to customers around the world.

Tesla ended its first quarter with $2.2 billion, down from $3.7 billion in the prior quarter, and the company is planning expansions including a Shanghai factory, an upcoming Model Y SUV, and other projects.

(GRAPHIC: Tesla’s cash – https://tmsnrt.rs/2DyJjX6)

On Monday, Musk hosted a self-driving event, where he predicted Tesla would have over a million autonomous vehicles by next year. Some analysts perceived the presentation as a way to deflect attention from questions about demand, margin pressure, increasing competition and even Musk’s ongoing battle with U.S. regulators.

Tesla’s stock has now fallen 29 percent in 2019 and the company’s market capitalization has declined to $41 billion from $63 billion in mid-December.

(GRAPHIC: Tesla’s declining market cap – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Dwd62r)

Analysts now expect Tesla’s revenue to expand 19% in 2019, compared with 83% growth in 2018 and 68% growth in 2017, according to Refinitiv.

Following Tesla’s quarterly report, 12 analysts recommend selling the stock, while 11 recommend buying and eight are neutral. The median analyst price target is $275, up 16% from the stock’s current price of $236. Berenberg analyst Alexander Haissl has the most optimistic price target, at $500, while Cowen and Company’s Jeffrey Osborne has the lowest, at $160, according to Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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