Tesla's spent a year terrifying, electrifying Wall Street

Tesla's spent a year terrifying, electrifying Wall Street

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla's losses were mounting last summer, massive debt payments were looming, and both Wall Street and federal regulators had run out of patience with the erratic behavior of CEO Elon Musk.
One year ago this week, shares plunged 14% after Tesla posted another quarterly loss, this one for $408 million, wiping out about $6 billion of the company's worth.
Since then the stock has blasted off like at rocket at SpaceX, another Musk-led company. Tesla's market value today is three times that of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, combined. A single share of Tesla now goes for $1,600, a seven-fold increase from a year ago, making it one of the most expensive publicly traded shares in the world.
“Things just turned on a dime,” said CFRA Analyst Garrett Nelson. “It's just been one positive announcement after another.”
In the past year, the electric car and solar panel maker successfully opened a factory in China, introduced the Model Y electric SUV, made debt payments and it's posted profits for three straight quarters. Musk toned down the posts on Twitter that had cost him and the company $40 million in penalties from U.S. securities regulators.
A day before the company posts quarterly results one year removed from that week in 2019, industry analysts have begun to question if Tesla is running too hot. Analysts polled by FactSet expect a $228 million net loss from April through June. Only one analyst has a 12-month stock price target above the current value.
Tesla's stock surge has enriched Musk, boosting his net worth to an estimated $73.5 billion. He passed Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, on the Forbes Billionaires list. And Musk could be headed for another big payday soon under his ambitious Tesla compensation package. In total, Musk and other Tesla shareholders have made about $240 billion since March 18, the low point for the stock price this year.

With second-quarter sales of Tesla vehicles outpacing the first despite a global pandemic, shares could jump again if Tesla surprises with its fourth consecutive profitable quarter. That would likely check all the boxes and could lead to Tesla's admission into the club of corporate giants: The S&P 500 stock index.

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