Tesla Motors shares fell more than 6% on Tuesday after an influential short-selling firm sent out a tweet announcing it had taken a short position in the all-electric automaker’s stock. Investors who take short positions on a stock are betting the asset will fall in value.
Tesla shares did rebound to closed at $186.35, down about 3% from its opening price. Citron Research said in a tweet it expected the stock price to hit $100 a share by the end of the year.
Tesla’s share price has been on a downward trend for months now. The premium car company’s share price fell to a two-year low last month to $147.99 after investors soured on the stock. The initial slide was triggered after several analysts lowered their stock price projections for Tesla over concerns that production of the company’s Model X SUV would be slower than expected and falling oil prices would depress sales of electric vehicles. Shares rose after the company’s earnings report forecasted deliveries of the Model S sedan and Model X SUVs above analysts’ projections and because Tesla said that it expected to turn a profit in 2016.
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Tesla’s existence has been at risk at various points since its founding in 2003. But this year is perhaps the company’s most challenging. It has survived and shown it can make high-performing, technologically-advanced cars.
But Tesla CEO Elon Musk has grander visions than being a boutique luxury electric car company.
To do that, Tesla has to increase production of the Model X and its flagship Model S electric car. Additionally, it must finish building its 10-million-square-foot battery factory in Nevada so it can produce a cheaper, mass-market car called the Model 3. Fortune reporter Katie Fehrenbacher previously described what Tesla has to perform is “a carefully coordinated high wire act on a world stage.”
Musk appears confident enough in Tesla’s prospects that he recently exercised his stock options, converting them into stock, and reinvesting more than $100 million into the company.
Will Tesla’s Model X be a hit?
Citron Research also targeted Tesla supplier Mobileye, a developer of vision-based driver assistance systems, in recent months. Citron Research founder Andrew Left issued a bearish report in September on Mobileye. It later called Mobileye the short of 2016 in a tweet, causing the stock to fall more than 7% that day. The tweet linked back to a report by Bloomberg, suggesting Tesla intended to ditch Mobileye’s driver-assistance technology for a product developed by hacker George Hotz.
The focus of the article was Hotz and the self-driving car he built in his garage. But it was his comments about Mobileye and Tesla grabbed the market’s attention. Tesla Motors has said it will continue to use Mobileye’s technology in its cars.
However, that hasn’t stopped Citron from continuing to spread its bearish message in regards to the Israeli vision chip technology company.