Hedge fund heaps criticism on Tesla after Musk's conference call

05 May, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Elon Musk has had to contend with production problems with the Model 3 car

Back in 2012, Musk commented on the short interest on Tesla's stock and warned that anyone holding a stock position against the company will have a "tsunami of hurt" coming for them.

The call was moving along relatively smoothly until Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi asked about the electric vehicle maker's capital requirements.

I asked Musk how he thinks it will compare to the 2013 short squeeze that followed his 2012 warning to the shorts.

"You need to have full autonomy, level 4 or 5, whatever you want to call it and, obviously, a lot of cars on the road, and then build the software infrastructure behind that to enable shared autonomy", Musk said.

To a question about the Tesla Model 3, which has had a slower-than-expected rollout, Musk replied: "These questions are so dry".

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Even if they did advise clients to steer clear of Tesla's turbulent stock, that wouldn't be a good reason to dismiss their questions outright.

The next day, the Goldman Sachs analyst reiterated his "sell" rating on Tesla and warned the stock could plunge another 30%.

Speaking at the Kase Learning Short Selling Conference in New York, Stanphyl Capital Partners founder Mark Spiegel criticized Tesla's financials and said they are "worsening" under heavy competition from luxury automakers.

Musk's decision to pick a fight with Wall Street looks ill-timed.

That task may be complicated by the past few days.

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While Tesla is seen by most as a "story stock" - meaning that its value is mostly linked to its future potential and all the products in its pipeline rather than its current financial results, historically, Tesla had its biggest stock price increases after reporting a profit.

Tesla tore through $745.3 million in cash in the quarter, due largely to the slow production ramp-up of the Model 3 mass-market electric sedan.

In the meantime, Musk isn't walking away from the harsh language he used Wednesday on the call.

He explained that the question from Bernstein's Sacconaghi was "boneheaded" because the topic had already been covered in a shareholder letter.

"Oh and uh short burn of the century comin soon".

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