Mike Blake | Reuters
Tesla Shares fell almost 16% during what CEO Elon Musk described to one of his 108 million followers on Twitter as “a very intense 7 days indeed.”
Tesla shares closed at $265.25 on Friday, September 30th. At the close a week later, Tesla shares were trading at $223.07, down nearly 16%. It was the stock’s worst week since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began to sweep the United States, crippling businesses and public life.
Over the weekend, Tesla reported production and delivery figures for electric vehicles that fell short of analysts’ expectations.
On Monday, Musk stoked a political firestorm by commenting on how he thinks Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine should be resolved.
Afterwards, public records revealed that Musk had told the Delaware Chancery Court that he was completing a $44 billion acquisition Twitter in October, a deal he had been trying to avoid for months.
Tesla deliveries and AI tag
According to estimates from FactSet’s own Street Account, analysts had expected Tesla to report deliveries of 364,660 cars for the period through Sept. 30, 2022.
But over the past weekend, Tesla reported total deliveries of 343,000 and production of 365,000 electric cars — despite starting production at two new factories in Brandenburg, Germany, and Austin, Texas.
Analysts wondered if Tesla is now facing a demand slump in China, where it faces stiffer competition from BYD, the Warren Buffett-backed lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle maker.
Tesla also held an engineer recruitment event late Friday last week, where it showcased a raw, early prototype humanoid robot and spoke about remaining challenges and advances in the development of self-driving technology that will power its cars with a software update in Robotaxis can transform .
The robot demo failed to impress industry insiders, but its potential captivated some fans and optimistic analysts.
Musk about Russia
On Monday, Musk released a Twitter poll assessing support for what he called the likely outcome of the seven-month conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He proposed new UN-supervised votes in Ukraine on whether certain parts of the beleaguered democratic nation should join Russia. He also suggested that Ukraine should cede Crimea to Russia and that the nation should then remain “neutral” rather than join either NATO or Russia.
The Kremlin praised Musk, but he drew harsh criticism from many others, including Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, and anti-Putin human rights activist and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Kasparov, who wanted to prevent Putin’s rise to power and was jailed and beaten for his activism before fleeing the country, described Musk’s plan as a “repeat of Kremlin propaganda.”
Twitter deal back
While Musk originally agreed to buy Twitter in April 2022, he spent months thereafter accusing the company of lying about its user IDs in financial records while fighting in court to get out of the deal he was proposing.
Twitter had sued Musk to ensure the deal went through as promised and saw a windfall for its shareholders. With a deposition this week and a pending trial, Musk sent a letter to Twitter and the court this week saying he would take the company private for $54.20 a share after all. He wanted Twitter or the court to stay the litigation, and a judge gave him until Oct. 28 to close the deal or go to court.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO may need to sell another portion of his Tesla stake to fund the Twitter acquisition. It won’t be able to do so until or after October 19, when the electric vehicle maker reports its third-quarter results.
On the top…
Despite his volatile week, Musk has made at least one historic professional accomplishment on his SpaceX reusable rocket project. The company transported four people from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to the International Space Station on Wednesday.
The mission marks the fifth launch by a SpaceX operational crew for NASA and the company’s eighth manned spaceflight in just over two years. One of the people flying SpaceX on this latest mission is Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.
Musk also boasted about the years-delayed start of production of the Tesla Semi, an all-electric heavy-duty truck, and promised that the company would deliver some of the trucks to Pepsi by December 1.
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