by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
In the last week, Tesla Inc TSLA 3.43% announced a recall of 123,000 Model S sedans; earned a reproof from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board for having prematurely publicized details into a fatal Model X crash; suffered on-camera exposure of Model X Autopilot failures; and caught a Moody’s downgrade.
It’s no laughing matter, but CEO Elon Musk is taking the struggles in stride.
Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.
This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point?
Happy New Month! pic.twitter.com/YcouvFz6Y1
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018
April Fools, Musk says, but his ostensible levity about the company’s setbacks doesn't resonate with wary investors. Even some of Tesla’s strongest and longest-held advocates are beginning to second-guess their bullishness.
“When we heard the recall news tonight we asked ourselves, do we still believe in the story?” Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster said in a March 29 note. “The answer is yes” — he still regards Tesla a leader in electric and autonomous vehicles, but his “patience is being tested.
Other investors haven’t been so forgiving. The stock is down 28 percent off its 2018 peak and struck one-year lows.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Jefferies upgraded Tesla to Hold Monday, although they aren't "quite ready to buy at current level." Barron's also made positive mention of the stock over the weekend.
The stock fell more than 4 percent in pre-market trading to $255.12 at time of publication.
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