Tesla stock is being battered along with the rest of the market, but how significantly will the crash in the price of oil impact the electric-car company?
Alternative fuel plays almost always head south when oil gets cheaper, and that is likely to be exacerbated if consumer spending contracts. Will 2020 go down as the year the reviled (in some circles) Tesla short sellers get proven correct?
So far, the short sellers are losing their bets that the stock will decline catastrophically. While Tesla stock is currently down more than 16 percent from the level it attained on Feb. 1 — when it closed at around $667 — the drop is hardly any more pronounced than the rest of the market, and even its current price is about twice the $279 quoted in early March 2019.
“We’ll likely never come out ahead [on the Tesla short] as I reduced the position size considerably in January,” admits Mark Spiegel, who began betting against the automaker in 2015.
But he says he is still awaiting vindication.
“We remain short Tesla Inc. (TSLA), which I still consider to be the biggest single stock bubble in this whole bubble market,” Spiegel wrote in a Feb. 28 Stanphyl Capital monthly newsletter, issued just ahead of the bursting of the bubble market.
Now that the bubble has burst, Spiegel says he still expects Tesla stock to tank, citing the troubles in China, weak revenues and the entrance of big automakers like BMW and Audi into the electric car competition.
Gordon Johnson of GLJ Research agreed, noting, “Lower gas prices are very bad for alternative energy. As gas goes down to $1.50, not as many people will want to buy electric cars, and at the same time a credit crunch will mean that fewer people will be able to finance them.
“This whole halo around Elon Musk is going to disappear,” Johnson added, predicting that Tesla will fall to less than $200 this year and around $90 in 2021.