ELECTRIC SPIKES

Tesla’s rollercoaster year in one chart

Coming out the other side.
Coming out the other side.
Image: REUTERS/Robyn Beck/Pool
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Stocks are not doing well at the moment—and the forecast remains cloudy. Though if you’re an investor in Tesla, you’re used to this.

The share-price performance of Tesla for the year so far, compared with the benchmark S&P 500 index, presents a starkly up-and-down picture of the market.

Over the year, Tesla has been down almost 20% and up more than 20% at various points. That’s a pretty volatile year for $50-billion company.

Among the highlights for Tesla stockholders this year:

  • The slump around April-to-May as fears grew that Tesla would not be able to deliver on its promises. The electric carmaker had vowed to make 5,000 Model 3s a week in late 2016. The quarterly results revealed that it was only able to make 8,182 Model 3s in the whole of the firs three months of 2018.
  • The spike in August when Elon Musk said he was thinking of taking Tesla private at $420 a share with “funding secured”—and the steep fall when it was quickly revealed that funding was not secured and the SEC sanctioned him and the company. This was further exacerbated by Musk smoking weed on a podcast. Some investors were not happy. His HR and accounting chiefs left. Shares cratered to well below $280.
  • Musk and the company agreed to each pay a $20-million fine to settle the probe in October, sending shares back up to near $380.
  • Finally, you have the divergence in the last three months of this year as Musk’s company outperformed the market. As the broader indexes fell, sending many stocks into a bear market, Tesla was finally able to manufacture 5,000 Model 3s a week. In late October, investor confidence was restored, as the company reported its first quarterly profit since 2016.

All in all, not a bad year for a company that many people expected—and bet on—to die.

N.B. Please note I own a very small amount of Tesla stock.