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Tesla Shares Slid Nearly 9% on Demand Concerns, Elon Musk's Twitter Distraction

Joe Skipper | Reuters
  • Shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla slid by nearly 9% on Thursday as analysts grow increasingly uncertain of the company's outlook.
  • Longtime Tesla bulls have called on Tesla's board of directors to refocus Musk away from Twitter and back towards the electric vehicle manufacturer.

Shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla dropped by almost 9% on Thursday as analysts grow increasingly uncertain of the company's outlook. The stock is down nearly 70% year-to-date.

After the bell Wednesday, Canaccord Genuity trimmed its price target for the automaker from $304 to $275, citing "cosmically bad" public sentiment and a "distraught" shareholder base. "Elon Musk is doing Elon Musk things," Canaccord's George Gianarikas wrote. "Some of this is Twitter-related drama, much is not."

Meanwhile, Tesla began to offer $7,500 discounts on some of its high-priced electric vehicles in the U.S. on Thursday, doubling its previous incentives, in an effort to encourage customers to take deliveries. It's also offering credits in Canada and Mexico. Tesla cut the price of cars in China in October.

The price cuts on Tesla's Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover are seen as a sign of weakening demand.

The company has also tried to stoke sales and deliveries with an offer of 10,000 miles of free charging at its Superchargers for customers who take delivery of their new Teslas in December.

Buyers of Tesla, and other electric vehicles made in the U.S., will likely qualify for a $7,500 incentive starting in January stemming from Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. Many prospective Tesla owners had put off taking delivery of their new cars from the company until the credits take effect.

CEO Elon Musk's performance as the new owner and CEO of Twitter has also caused serious concern for long-time Tesla bulls who are calling on the company's Board of Directors to rein him in and get him to focus on the electric car and renewable energy company.

Musk took Twitter private in a $44 billion deal that closed at the end of October, selling off around $23 billion in Tesla shares to finance the deal. He has since acknowledged an "obvious" overpayment.

As of yesterday's close, Tesla short-sellers are up more than $15 billion year-to-date according to estimates by Ortex, making Tesla the most profitable short so far in 2022. Amazon and Facebook have been trading places behind Tesla with short profits over $5 billion each so far this year.

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