Tesla, the WTF Chart of the Year

You’ve got to admire Musk for snookering true believers into buying $2 billion of new shares a month ago that are now down 52%.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET:

First a little history. Back in the good old days of February 4, 2020, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk could still be seen walking on water, and when Tesla’s shares hit $960 (and a little later $968.99), I posted a chart, calling it the “WTF chart of the year,” and adding that I’m in Awe of How Tesla is Now a Supernatural Phenomenon:

Parallel to the stock-price chart above, Tesla’s market cap skyrocketed by 168% and by over $110 billion in about two months. Which was of course ludicrous. But what was even more ludicrous — well, outright hilarious — was the stuff that analysts and true-believers put out there rationalizing this spike, explaining with logical-sounding gobbledygook why this type of nutty price surge was normal and appropriate for Tesla, given that its CEO walks on water or whatever.

Today, Tesla shares plunged 16% to $361.22, amid allegations that the company was flouting the lockdown order of Alameda County, one of the five San Francisco Bay Area counties that imposed a lockdown on nonessential businesses on Tuesday – that it was running its full two shifts, packing thousands of people together, including in dense lines at the doors of dozens of shuttle buses and other locations, and cranking out cars despite the County’s order to shut down.

The price of $361.22 is significant in the grander scheme. Tesla is now back where it had first been in June 2017. So this is my updated “WTF chart of the year,” a phenomenal nearly symmetrical spike, similar to an old rusty railroad spike:

In terms of a company with tens of billions of dollars in market cap, such as Tesla, this type of near-perfect three-month spike that went down slightly faster than up, and where the value of a company exploded by 168% — and by $110 billion — and then collapsed, may be unique in US history.

Penny stocks, scam stocks, or little-known stocks with tickers that get confused with some hot stock, can get this type of percentage spike, but those spikes don’t every create $110 billion in market cap in a few weeks, only to then unceremoniously unwind that $110 billion in market cap even faster.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to admire Tesla, or rather Musk, for snookering true-believer investors. These folks had it coming. Musk, still walking on water, snookered them gloriously into buying over $2 billion of new shares that Tesla issued on the way down of the spike, on February 13, for $767 a share.

Tesla needs the money. It is using the $2 billion to fuel its cash-burn machine. And the investors are sitting on a one-month loss of 53%.

But this WTF chart shows just how crazy the stock market was in early February, how euphoria-besotted stock-jockeys and spaghetti-code algos would do anything, no matter what, as long as it was buy, buy, buy.

This kind of spike shows that the market overall had gone nuts, that reality would eventually exert itself again at least a tiny little bit, and that the whole house of cards was utterly ripe for an implosion.

And that’s what we got with Tesla, and with the stock market overall. Even now, Tesla is still overvalued by a huge amount. And reality is still far away, but getting rid of that spike was a good first step in the right direction.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy that wipes out shareholders is the correct solution for collapsing share-buyback queens. US airlines already know this from experience. It works. Read... After Blowing $4.5 Trillion on Share Buybacks, Airlines, Boeing, Many Other Culprits Want Taxpayer & Fed Bailouts of their Shareholders

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  96 comments for “Tesla, the WTF Chart of the Year

  1. Yancey Ward
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:21 am

    Well, obviously Tesla’s stock was infected with coronavirus.

    • Shiloh1
      Mar 19, 2020 at 9:46 am

      TSLA +$42.00 at the moment. Welcome to the FED Magic Show, sponsored by idiot taxpayers!

  2. all bark, no bite
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:26 am

    Open, but not working?

    Can you confirm exactly what they’re doing?? Sounds like the Sheriff has ordered no ‘manufacturing’ so Musk, just says they’re repairing?

    One thing that Musk knows, that probably most don’t realize that for right now, until they declare martial-law, this ‘lockdown’ really doesn’t have a bite

    • Mar 19, 2020 at 1:42 am

      all bark, no bite,

      This lockdown is an effort for all people here in the Bay Area to cooperate to slow the spread of the virus. It’s mostly voluntary. We’re in this together, so let’s try to tackle it together.

      Then comes Musk who doesn’t care crap about anyone or anything and risks the health of his employees and everyone else in the Bay Area because he is above everyone else and doesn’t need to cooperate or show solidarity. For him, all that matters is to halt by hook or crook the collapse of his shares.

      Musk has lost billions and he is in a shitty mood. I get that. But he still has a few billion left and doesn’t need to act like an obsessed moron.

      • Phoenix_Ikki
        Mar 19, 2020 at 2:16 am

        To the likes of Musk, that god complex run deep and of course he is going to do what he feel is right and not follow what all other common man and companies do. I sure do enjoy seeing them fall back down from extremely insane overprice level to still ridiculously overprice now.

        Wait, where’s his cheerleader ARK investment with their quite funny price target for 2024 now? I am sure they can use some in times like this, not that it will work…

        ARK’s Predicted Scenarios 2024 Price Target Significance
        Expected Value

        $7,000

        This projection is our base case for TSLA’s stock price in 2024 based on our probability matrix.

        Bear Case

        $1,500

        We believe that there is a 25% probability that Tesla could be worth $1,500 per share or less in 2024.

        Bull Case

        $15,000

        We believe that there is a 25% probability that Tesla could be worth $15,000 per share or more in 2024.

        • Noelck
          Mar 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

          I really hated seeing Cathie Wood touting Tesla as going to $7,000. All the while her firm – Ark Investment was selling shares.
          I’m not a Musk hater but the fundamentals and balance sheet for Tesla scream run away!

      • john in cheshire
        Mar 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

        Every time I see or hear this man’s name I think John DeLorean. On steroids. I think the man’s a charlatan. He must have some very powerful handlers to have gotten away with it for so long.

        Maybe in a few years time there’ll be a remake of the Back to the Future movies using a Tesla.

      • Beard681
        Mar 19, 2020 at 6:13 am

        BS. Instead of cooperate people should be out with torches and pitchforks. Taiwan saw this coming back in December and took measures so they don’t need to “lockdown”. What was our vaunted “intelligence community “ doing? What do we get from our bloated regulated health cartels other than incompetence and “compliance delays”.

        • timbers
          Mar 19, 2020 at 7:19 am

          Beard681:

          “What was our vaunted “intelligence community “ doing? What do we get from our bloated regulated health cartels other than incompetence and “compliance delays”.”

          So true. For decades both sides gutted our public agencies, cutting or under funding them below inflation (both health and otherwise) and placed in their charge leaders that don’t even believe in their missions as defined by law and demoralizing their staff and made a mockery of their mission when Congress created them.

          And the incompetence of the elites is showing up all around us. Heads of CDC, HHS, Dept of Education etc that are clueless incompetent and even a public hazard in times like these. The in your face failure of primary election apps over and over again. Saying nations have weapons they don’t and getting promoted for while those who correctly said otherwise are blacklisted or demoted.

          And now we have Ivy League educated court justices telling us legal constructions (corporations, parking rules) have constitutional rights, but actual people don’t.

          And these justices have not been impeached or removed from office for gross mental incompetence or fraud.

          Incredible.

          And we were unable to test of a flu that First World South Korea was doing 10,000 drive thru tests in 10 minutes?

          America is a Third World nation. Good morning America!

          I do however agree with Wolf, that these measures are enacted in good faith and can only work with voluntary help from all. But I am wondering if all the measures actually work.

          Good news is, China has brought the number of new cases into the double digits. 13 new cases yesterday. If we can believe their reporting.

        • timbers
          Mar 19, 2020 at 7:36 am

          Note: there is an article on South Korea’s success against the Covid at Asia Times entitled “Democracies’ Covid-19 cures could be worse than the disease”

          South Korea has enacted few restrictions compared the other nations. Cafes, bars, etc are open. South Korea long did not like Google or Facebook, and established competitors/alternatives to them. It was testing up to 20,000/day at one point.

          It’s doing much better than most nations. Much more, it’s worth a read.

      • IdahoPotato
        Mar 19, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Angry Wolf is the best Wolf.

        • Mar 19, 2020 at 10:01 am

          LOL

          BTW, that’s not what my wife sez.

        • VintageVNvet
          Mar 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

          What, no ”make up” sex, per that wonderful NY comedy called Seinfeld, or something like that if I remember correctly?
          Spouse and I came late to that show because we were out in the woods with no TV setting up a facility that we thought would suffice for the survival of ALL our grandchildren and their cousins.
          Cousins and parents, grands too young even today,,, did not come on board, probably, in retrospect because of the ”easy money” they had access to,,, but, now, that place gone to a family with 7 beautiful daughters and expanded to our original property lines plus what we thought might be needed, ,, , all of a sudden, some of the cousins are asking…
          And, to quote some ‘gut’ guy,,, so it goes, eh

      • Dolph
        Mar 20, 2020 at 12:48 pm

        Yes, he Does! It’s because he IS one!!

    • Joan of Arc
      Mar 19, 2020 at 2:34 am

      If musk was really smart he would have gone for $10 billion of new money when the stock was closer to the top.

      • Tang
        Mar 19, 2020 at 5:59 am

        Wolf, admire your always spot on prognosis. I read almost all your reporting on telsa earlier and the facts details. Think I did posted something on snake oil.
        Yes telsa did that using China. For years US companies and many others as well has been selling snake oil and even dance to that that China with 1.2 billion people will dominate the world and boost their performance. And many folks agree. In my country Companies going IPO must mentioned going to China or a presence there in those days.

        Yeah they forgot many other issues there. Yes China greatness is now shown to the world in the form and doing of corona virus. So how do the snake oil lyrics goes? The many telsas etc will continue licking their wounds as the virus rampage on.

      • dd
        Mar 19, 2020 at 10:47 am

        For the first time, his obscene bonus scenario looked like it was going to happen. This will have been foremost in his mind. How to keep the company rolling, while not shocking the share price? Two weeks ahead of the raise he said there was no need for a raise, then did $2 billion. It was likely as much as he thought he could get away with, just had to keep that share price up for six months.

        Had the long-term health of the company been the goal rather than his package, they could have raised enough to pay off most or all of the debt, and actually been in a far more competitive and viable position.

        And now, an exogenous shock!

    • 911Truther
      Mar 19, 2020 at 10:12 am

      You can tell it’s real because it looks so fake!

    • DV
      Mar 20, 2020 at 5:48 am

      The question is, who is gojng to buy all those Teslas that they make right now. Maybe Musk sees the auto nanufacturing grinding a halt pretty much as it did in Europe and he would then come out with his stock?

  3. Trinacria
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Tulips anyone ??? Or, maybe some snake oil that will grow hair??? Bernanke could probably have used some…

  4. Anthony
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:38 am

    Items like electric cars are often bought because they are the flavour of the month. As we all know now, flavours can change. Smartphones , like Apple, were once flavoursome, but now all people want on their shopping list is toilet rolls, food and guns (in the USA lol) People are not going out saying , I must update my iphone. So, as with all flavours, what happens if the weather changes yet again, and you need a poweful engine and large tyres to get through all the snow….. For that reason, I can see companies like Tesla easily going bust, even if their cars are quite tasty…we will see…

    • Shiloh1
      Mar 19, 2020 at 7:55 am

      How many already spent state and local government “investment-subsidies” go up in smoke when they go BK?

    • cesqy
      Mar 19, 2020 at 9:59 am

      When Apple’s stock gets back to “normal” price to earnings, the market will be close to bottoming. It’s still way overvalued and overhyped.

    • The Colorado Kid
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Hey Anthony, at least here in the USA we still (amazingly) still have the RIGHT to defend ourselves and our families with a firearm. This, apparently to you, is laughable.

  5. Mar 19, 2020 at 1:46 am

    9 out of 10 millennials dont even know who Tesla was.

    • NewGuy
      Mar 19, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Didn’t he invent the rock band AC/DC ?

      • VintageVNvet
        Mar 19, 2020 at 2:51 pm

        Funny, far shore,,, thanks!!

      • Jeff
        Mar 22, 2020 at 12:18 am

        Half of it at least…

    • Dan Romig
      Mar 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      If that is true, it is a damn shame.

      Back in the day, he and Tommy Edison had a disagreement on how to move electricity. Tommy figured the electrons should just move along in an orderly and steady manner to get from point A to point B. Nikola laughed at this and said it’s best to have the electrons wiggle back and forth.

      He who laughs last, laughs best.

      “I’m a mean machine, I’m the kind you don’t want to meet
      My middle name is trouble, I’m danger in the street
      My motor’s in overdrive, I got my pedal to the floor
      Never get enough, always comin’ back for more – yeah yeah”

      -Tesla (the rock band)

      • Dave
        Mar 20, 2020 at 4:25 am

        Except that Edison died while having a net worth in the millions and Tesla was a poor broken recluse when he died. So yes historically he did get the last laugh, he did not get to enjoy it.

        I think PBS had a special on him, perhaps it was American Experience? Great show.

  6. MCH
    Mar 19, 2020 at 1:57 am

    I would comment that even with the stock price where it’s at, which is a market cap of about $80B, it is still worth more than Boeing, market cap of about $73B.

    Honestly, if he sets his sights a little lower, he could probably buy Ford with a market cap of $12B… or may be Ford with GM….

    If only he could take SpaceX public….. oh but wait, wasn’t he talking about that one earlier, at least spinning off the satellite company?

  7. GotCollateral
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Fucking suckers lol

  8. AlbieOK
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:12 am

    Hot money burns. 🔥🦄

  9. No Expert
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:15 am

    There are still believers talking about TSLA over taking ICE (internal combustion engines) and becoming a monopoly, 10k/share … Hats off to Elon who managed to combine a cult with a ponzi, two of the most profitable enterprises possible (in the short term).

  10. roddy6667
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:28 am

    What would the price be with a P/E of 12?
    This is a trick question.

    • Fred Bauer
      Mar 19, 2020 at 7:59 am

      Roughly negative 50?
      Am I close?

    • CreditGB
      Mar 19, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      A BIG IF, they posted a legitimate $1 per share, value is maybe $19?

  11. David Hall
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:50 am

    Tesla may have some self-driving vehicle intellectual property.

    I did not buy Tesla stock. Am not a short seller either.

    Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have been promoting space tourism. It is vanity. Astronomical air fares, out of this world. Looking at scenery will not pay the bills.

    • Phoenix_Ikki
      Mar 19, 2020 at 9:59 am

      Paging Jeff “Dr Evil lookalike” Bezos and Musk. Where’s your help now with this global crisis? I thought we are supposed to look to billionaires to be our savior. Last I checked, they are both MIA when it comes to this and one is busy fighting to keep his factory open while the other is busy hiring more people and space travel. How about Bloomberg? Half a billion can go a a little way now to help society combat this threat but instead spent it on vanity presidential race..

      Not that I am a fan but at least Jack Ma is doing something to help us with testing kits. To believe that these “visionary” billionaires will come rushing in to save the day is just pure fantasy.

  12. Willy Winky
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:56 am

    BREAKING NEWS! Elon Musk announces the Tesla Vaccine…. guaranteed to prevent the Wuhan Virus…. it’s so amazing that it will even cure those who already have Wuhan.

    Tesla shares spike to $100,000 a share on this announcement.

  13. HD
    Mar 19, 2020 at 3:18 am

    Something tells me the picture of Elon Musk in front of a bewildered audience and with a futuristic silvergrey pickup truck with busted windows behind his back is going to be used in a lot of Tesla articles in the coming weeks or months

  14. Old-school
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:01 am

    One of Buffets truths is that one of the biggest risks to an investor is the Ego of the CEO.

    Buffet probably is a smart as Musk but does an excellent job of keeping his ego in check. One mark of Buffet’s intelligence is the way he has structured BRK to have various income streams that have different patterns. For example the property and casualty insurance income is determined by random natural events, the railroad is in sync with the business cycle and the electric utility is noncyclical.

    Musk is very smart but his extreme risk taking almost ensures that at some point in time a stockholder is going to get wiped out.

    • nick kelly
      Mar 19, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Buffet looks for ‘moats’, barriers to entry and competition for his investment. Take his railroads. You can easily buy new locos, cars, rails and sleepers, but it’s almost impossible to get new rights- of- way. (As I remark about our pipeline protests up here in Canada: it’s a good thing the railways and highways were built in the pre-protest days, because today you couldn’t build them either.)

      What are the barriers to entry in the electric car biz?
      Just count the new entrants.

    • James
      Mar 27, 2020 at 11:50 am

      I think Musk probably has a much higher IQ than Buffet, but Buffet has was more humility and modesty. IQ is overrated, and humility and modesty are underrated.

  15. Jacques Huyghebaert
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:07 am

    This reminds us of the Tulip bulb in 1617 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania and the South Sea Bubble in 1720 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sea_Company. The company underwrote the English National Debt, which stood at £30 million, on a promise of 5% interest from the Government. Shares immediately rose to 10 times their value, the country went wild, stocks increased and huge fortunes were made. Then the ‘bubble’ in London burst! The stocks crashed and people all over the country lost all of their money. Porters and ladies maids who had bought their own carriages became destitute almost overnight. The Clergy, Bishops and the Gentry lost their life savings; the whole of the UK suffered a catastrophic loss of money and property. Suicides became a daily occurrence. The gullible mob whose innate greed had lain behind this mass hysteria for wealth, demanded vengeance. The Postmaster General took poison and his son, who was the Secretary of State, avoided disaster by fortuitously contracting smallpox and died! The South Sea Company Directors were arrested and their estates forfeited.
    There were 462 members of the House of Commons and 112 Peers in the South Sea Company who were involved in the crash. Frantic bankers thronged the lobbies at Parliament and the Riot Act was read to restore order. Nihil Novi Sub Soli – Ecclesiastes 1:9

    • BioChamp
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:16 am

      Spring is on its way in Boston. I was long tulips this year and my investment was starting to bud… then the rabbits came and chewed the lot to the ground. True story!

      • Harvey Mushman
        Mar 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm

        My dad used to hunt rabbits with a .22 rifle… just sayin

    • nick kelly
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:42 am

      The SS bubble even ensnared theoretical physicist and the inventor of calculus, Isaac Newton.

      Newton invested around £3,500 in early 1720 and sold out in late April of that year having doubled his money. However, like so many others, he was induced to get back into the market in the summer of 1720 at the height of the bubble and ended up losing £20,000, around £3 million in today’s money.’

  16. otishertz
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:30 am

    I’m long tp

  17. breamrod
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:55 am

    in this coming depression caused by this virus not to many people are gonna buy his over priced toys. His fans will eventually turn against him when the stock heads south in really big way.

  18. Mar 19, 2020 at 6:01 am

    ZH mentions this morning that China has canceled subsidies for EVs. That should finish the process.

    • Pantrax
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:19 am

      I am hoping that as the COVID-19 and economic crisis settle in, and people have real problems to deal with, it becomes apparent to all how ridiculous it was to ever look to a petulant teenager for leadership.

    • robt
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:42 am

      And this girl, too. Girl power!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJJGuIZVfLM

  19. Karl
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:12 am

    What’s remains of the middle class montra (I cant speak from experience to or for any other) is aspirational. We can fix it. We can make it work the right way. We can leave the campground cleaner than when we got there. We don’t necessarily want to be like Musk, we want to embrace his enthusiasm for making cars right.

    That being said every time I’ve thought about buying a few shares I remember one thing: the 1% need the 99% percent for their emotional and economic support even though we’re all deplorables.

    I can’t do it. I can’t buy in. Not now. When Tesla makes Musk relevant as a driver (not a sales guy) and can pound it’s corporate chest and show more than bravado I’ll jump in. And yes part of that is corporate responsibility.

  20. Iamafan
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:21 am

    The downward momentum begins.

  21. Mark
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:31 am

    Hey Felon Musk

    Karma

    It is written.

  22. Xypher2000
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:56 am

    This ponzi-scheme will eventually implode, it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully the carbon credit government subsidize scam will be eliminated and then he will only have new investor cash to keep him afloat and people will get weary when they see no profit for the last few years.

  23. Gold is just..gold
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:57 am

    About two years ago I read Musk’s biography by Ashley Vance, written 4 or 5 years ago.

    Didn’t Musk come to the USA with next to nothing, few contacts and through sheer grit, determination and dare I say it…genius… build an Empire?

    Isn’t this the American Dream?

    Is he flawed? Of course. Massive ego, cut corners, broken rules, done all the stuff that American entrepreneurs have always done ? Yep.

    But all I hear is snarling spite, underpinned with envy, for Musky.

    Perhaps that’s symptomatic of the US’s decline, to be formalised after the coming Depression. Cut down those tall poppies. Let’s all be average.

    Sad.

    PS Why doesn’t Space X ever get a mention…too successful?

    • FromKS
      Mar 19, 2020 at 8:01 am

      “He definitely goes where there is government money,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”

      https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story.html

    • Fred Bauer
      Mar 19, 2020 at 8:11 am

      If you’re really asking, I despise Musk because he’s a Bernie Madoff presenting himself as a Hank Reardon (the brilliant and successful industrialist in Atlas Shrugged.) He lies constantly. He makes money by selling false promises instead of quality products. There is a big difference between a trail blazer who bends rules that are bureaucratic cronyism and regularly committing fraud as in taking private @ $420, funding secured or one million robotaxis by the end of 2020.

      • Noelck
        Mar 19, 2020 at 11:24 am

        I see Musk as a visionary. Much along the lines of Elizabeth Holmes.

        • Mar 19, 2020 at 4:56 pm

          I see him as post visionary, someone with your parents vision of the future. His ideas come from Popular Mechanics in the 1950s. Interesting the 1930’s were a time of several new technologies, and it was also a lost decade economically.

      • Gold is just..gold
        Mar 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm

        If Musk – and many other high flyers – take advantage of the system, is it his fault, or that of the system that allows it? Fix the system.

        I assume that people who can afford a Tesla are bright enough to do their own research; haven’t yet spotted a Tesla with a sign “I bought a lemon” on the windscreen…anecdotally, most seem happy even proud to own one. And if the cars are play toys for the rich, well, it’s their hard-earned.

        • Paul
          Mar 19, 2020 at 6:32 pm

          I have a Tesla, and couldn’t or would hate to drive another car now. As would most owners. And that’s one reason why Tesla will be around for a long time. Plus the fact that it’s an energy company as well as a car and the energy will overtake the cars at some point.

    • roddy6667
      Mar 19, 2020 at 8:17 am

      “come to the USA with next to nothing, few contacts and through sheer grit, determination and dare I say it…genius… build an Empire?
      Isn’t this the American Dream?
      Is he flawed? Of course. Massive ego, cut corners, broken rules, done all the stuff that American entrepreneurs have always done ? Yep.”

      I thought you were talking about Tony Montana.

    • Paulo
      Mar 19, 2020 at 9:26 am

      Gold,

      You know what is symptomatic of the decline? A new (drum roll) Space Force, while telling doctors to reuse surgical masks and providing instructions on how they can make their own.

      All the while people are fretting over the ‘Market’.

      hey, in every 3rd world country there are always a few who make out like bandits and get wealthy. USA isn’t exceptional after all, just following the same pattern as everywhere else. Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and ears wide open for grifters in both politics and industry. Elon fit right in.

    • Mar 19, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Gold is just..gold,

      Space X is not a publicly traded company and therefore has no publicly known stock price that changes from minute to minute. And it doesn’t post audited financials. So I have no idea whether it is overvalued or not. That’s my issue with Tesla — the stock price and the manipulation efforts that got it there.

      I have always said that I give Musk immense credit for having put EVs on the map. Many tried before, including GM in the 1990s, and failed, though early EVs had their day in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

  24. Raging Texan
    Mar 19, 2020 at 8:04 am

    For all I feel toward Musk, I have to admit he is a better CFO than 99% of the buybacking CEO’s in the world today.

    Musk actually issued shares when the price skyrocketed!

    Attn CFO’s of the world, you are supposed to ISSUE, NOT buyback shares when they go up.

  25. IslandTeal
    Mar 19, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Rember to get the pronunciation correct….Tessssla. Sadly the biggest laff is on the various fools who got stuck with those shares via 401k and public sector retirement accounts. Remember that as WB lines up and takes another Fed bailout and the cat get fatter.

  26. Augusto
    Mar 19, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Tesla’s are play toys for the rich. After this market collapse, there won’t be much money for this thing. There are lots of believers out there still, but they have a lot less money now.

  27. CreditGB
    Mar 19, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Like dandelions in spring, a new crop of greater fools is always springing to life. Stay tuned for the next just over the horizon thing, event, breakthrough (you pick) to come from Elon the Oz Musk. At zero borrowing costs, they will soak up whatever he sells them.

  28. MF
    Mar 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

    I agree with everything you say, Wolf, but Musk is a symptom of our sick winner-takes-all-and-then-makes-the-rules society, not the problem.

    My daughter works at Walmart in Washington State and they are no better. I won’t bore you with the details, because you already know them.

    Pick your favorite monopoly, high-barrier-to-entry legacy company or unicorn startup. They all play by the same rules and are funded by the same greedy, smug, mendacious jerks. As a society we glorify them, pay them homage, and aspire to be them.

    This will not change as long as there’s an army of buyers who grew up on a cul-de-sac and seek to continue this protected existence so long as they can convince themselves their lifestyle isn’t destroying the planet (whether it’s actually true or not isn’t relevant).

    It’s no accident that Mr. Musk’s market is this very class of people (generally understood as the top 20% of households by income). He very clearly understands them, and not only effectively markets to them, but effectively fleeces them. Somehow this gets under your skin.

    Walmart, the Dollar Stores, and the payday lenders clearly understand and their markets as well. While the retailers must be content with fleecing only their employees, the lenders are very effective at fleecing their customers too. For some these outfits don’t receive the same opprobrium as Mr. Musk.

    • Aussie Andy
      Mar 19, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Couldn’t agree more

  29. Wes
    Mar 19, 2020 at 10:02 am

    The Tesla chart looks like a SpaceX ballistic launch and retrieval.

  30. Bobber
    Mar 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

    Musk will go down as one of the greatest cons ever. Instead of saying, you got swindled, they’ll start saying “you got musked”. That sounds a little better than you got “WeWorked” or you got “Ubered”.

    • Unamused
      Mar 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Musk will go down as one of the greatest cons ever.

      But not the greatest. Musk is chump change. Another guy self-deals the cards that beat all yours and names them after himself.

      The money on the sidelines is moving in, and hostile takeovers are coming. The totalitarians are already here, which is to say, there. Political extortion of corporations is a thing, but these days, everything is.

      What lies before us and lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies right to our faces. But keep calm. We’ll get to the carrion part in a minute.

      • Phoenix_Ikki
        Mar 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

        Agree Musk probably won’t be the greatest. Just one look at Adam Neumann and Musk got plenty of competition for conman of the century.

  31. Guy Fox
    Mar 19, 2020 at 10:17 am

    I wonder how We-Work is doing theese days … and other unicorns …

  32. Gandalf
    Mar 19, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Wolf, you’re getting real close with all your descriptives, but you haven’t written down the key words yet, so here’s they are:

    Tesla is a religion, not a just a corporation that builds battery powered cars. Elon is of course the Messiah.

    You haven’t experienced the full power of humans to delude themselves until you’ve met people who think prayer will cure their cancer or protect them from COVID-19. Or continue to keep faith with a church that continues to have one pedophile scandal after another. I see these people around me all the time

    How the heck do you explain Tom Cruise and Scientology?

    In soulless, selfish, greedy Wall Street, Tesla and Elon are the Holy Duality that will lead True Believers to the Truth, World Salvation, and of course, massive amounts of Money

    • Unamused
      Mar 19, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Elon is of course the Messiah.

      But he is not the only one. And he is not the Chosen One.

      With a wealth transfer like this they won’t need another one.

  33. akiddy111
    Mar 19, 2020 at 11:14 am

    While it is true that those investors are negative on their $2 billion, Tesla stock is up big over the last 12 months.

    Those of you who are throwing rotten tomatoes at Musk, do you have any idea of the brand power of a Tesla ? Have they ever driven one ?

    Tesla has only begun to take market share from Porsche, Mercedes, BMW or Lexus. Tesla is a must have brand. Very, very powerful.
    iphone powerful !

    Tesla shows a lot of the same traits as an early Amazon with a similar legion of short sellers and naysayers hopelessly gangin up. Good Golly. It never ends. I must be getting old at this.

    • Jon
      Mar 19, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      Actually, with Model S/X, Teslas used to be a car to show your status/I have arrived kind of thing.

      But in Socal, Model 3 is dime a dozen and honestly it is not very expensive w.r.t. Luxy sports cars like Audi BMW etc.

      The wow status factor in teslas are going away for sure.

  34. Mar 19, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Who does he think he will sell these cars to? Can he visualize all these new vehicles parked over acres and acres in giant vacant lots? Any idea how many cars he was making? The guy is shaky but smart, what is he doing?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Mar 19, 2020 at 11:29 am

    This is classic short squeeze, and you can go back all the way to the 19th century to see similar (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator). Musk and a few other large shareholders clearly temporarily removed borrow capability on TSLA shares, which meant that shares became almost impossible (or very expensive) to borrow for shorting purposes. That squeezed the shorts. Once they played their hand, they refinanced the company into the new price. Suckers.

  36. LouisDeLaSmart
    Mar 19, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    \\\
    Wolf, you are most likely aquainted with the Golden Raspberry for acting. Well, I think it’s time for a “Golden Raisin” for the following categories:
    1) WTF chart.
    2) Stupidest FED decision.
    3) Most destructive business method.
    4) Area with most ridiculous housing prices.
    5) The worst thing the pharmaceutical industry came up with.
    6) People I would like to punch for being douchbags that are not politicians.
    7) Stupid.
    \\\

    • VintageVNvet
      Mar 19, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      I encourage you to do more, editing and additions and subtractions; but, in fact IMO, I really do think you are on to something good with your basics as you outline.
      Flesh it out to where more of us ”morons” one day, ”geniuses” the next day can at least try to pick it up and run with it.

      Thank you

  37. jon
    Mar 19, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Not sure about the value of tsla stocks as traditional valuation method have been thrown away because of cheap money availability.

    But if you want a EV, Teslas are the best out there.

    I don’t own tsla stock, but have played with it to make some $$

    • Max Power
      Mar 19, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      There’s no question that Tesla’s are the best EVs out there… NOW.

      However, price parity with ICE vehicles is still years away.

      The question is not what does the competitive EV landscape looks like today but what will it look in 2026/27 when parity comes.

      The true-believers are convinced that Tesla will remain far ahead of the competition in this market. However, there is no guarantee this will happen. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that the EV marketplace will be much more even by then. As such, even when looking towards the future (and ignoring the immense cash burn machine that Tesla is today) there still is no justification for the sort of valuation this company currently has.

      • Old-school
        Mar 20, 2020 at 6:37 am

        There is a theory that a society is limited to going green by the amount of wealth in society as most green projects currently do not pencil out as the most efficient use of capital. The loss of wealth in this recession may set the green movement back a few years as just making sure people can keep a roof over their heads and food on the table take precedent.

  38. Ed
    Mar 19, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Tesla is loosing a lot of traction in Germany with the new factory. There used to be a forest where they are building. This is what it looks like now

    • Mar 19, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      This forest was a tree farm as nearly all forests in Germany. They’re planted to be harvested. So this one got harvested. What’s the big deal?

  39. Jay Johnson
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    The thinking of us know Tesla-ron, not just this crazy spike in value, is a scam. In a few years time, the rent-seeking conman, Musk, will be on the run, and Tesla-ron a bought up in bankruptcy joke.

  40. DeerInHeadlights
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    As long as there is great wealth and obscene levels of income inequality in the world and in the USA, there will be a market for fancy, luxurious goods, if not for the hereditary rich, for the nouveau riche. Tesla is just another luxury car brand. Heck, it doesn’t even take a big gap between rich and poor, as long as there’s a high standard of living (most western nations), there’ll be demand for this stuff. This is human nature and it’s not going to change.

    It doesn’t matter if more EV’s will come to market and reach feature-parity and have 5-star safety ratings, the brand appeal will always be there. The same brand appeal that Apple has for example. It’s greatly tied to the founder/messiah/savior, in this case Musk, in Apple’s case Jobs, but it’s not solely dependent on it. Look how Apple’s products are doing just as well long after Jobs is gone. We all have groups we feel a belonging to in terms of our social and financial status and there’s always going to be that class of people who ‘resonate’ with these types of goods because their self-esteem, sense of worth and belonging is tied with owning such products and hanging out with that crowd.

    That’s also where the analogy with Apple breaks down because while Apple is immensely profitable and successful as a business, Telsa is the polar opposite. And that’s where I tend to agree with Wolf that if anything is going to spell the end of Tesla, it’s going to be the business fundamentals, things like being able to turn an annual profit which this company in its entire decade-plus existence hasn’t managed to do. The messiah complex can only take a company so far…but never underestimate the propensity of humans for tribalism and cult-worship.

  41. No Expert
    Mar 19, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    “the brand appeal will always be there” always is a long time man, ask Nokia, Enron etc.

  42. Old-school
    Mar 20, 2020 at 6:55 am

    We will see how it all comes out, but public companies should structure their finances to survive recessions as they occur once in a decade or so. Musk just seemed to thrive by rolling the dice to run the company on the edge and this recession will see if he played it wrong.

  43. sean guy
    Mar 27, 2020 at 2:22 am

    As is the way, Musk is a frontman, hes certainly not the owner. All their technology was stolen from the real Tesla years back. Means that 1% bankers are in the driving seat – no guessing who we are talking about here then…

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