Stock Of The Week: Tesla
Musk's Super Bad Feeling May Lead To Job Cuts
Tesla’s had an interesting week. First let’s take a look at the chart:
The downtrend is still firmly intact. Despite some wholehearted attempts to push higher, the majority of the price action has been confined to the descending channel since the November 2021 high.
And after a positive start to June, Tesla shares couldn’t hold above the 20 day moving average this week, closing down by -7.3%.
Near-term, bears will be looking for a move down towards the 620 zone. For bulls, a move back above the 20 day MA would be step one…
Super Bad Feelings
Elon’s always in the headlines, and this week it wasn’t necessarily for the best reasons. Musk said that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy. Last week, a Twitter user asked Musk if he thought that “we’re approaching a recession. Musk’s reply was eye-catching:
“Yes, but this is actually a good thing. It has been raining money on fools for too long. Some bankruptcies need to happen.”
“Also, all the Covid stay-at-home stuff has tricked people into thinking that you don’t actually need to work hard. Rude awakening inbound!”
A few days later, he followed up by sending an email to all Tesla workers, saying that “remote work is no longer acceptable.”
- “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,”
- “Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”
When challenged by a Twitter user for “any additional comment to people who think coming into work is an antiquated concept”, the Tesla boss was as direct as ever:
“They should pretend to work somewhere else.”
It’s an uncompromising stance.
Subsequently Musk told Tesla executives to pause all hiring and said that the company needs to cut about 10% of the salaried workforce.
But will this approach to remote work drive the most talented workers away?
And is this just a Tesla problem?
The picture isn't exactly clear right now. There have been some notable hiring freezes and layoffs in tech land, but not in the wider auto industry.
President Biden was happy to point that out when asked about Musk’s comments.
"While Elon Musk is talking about that, Ford is increasing their investment overwhelmingly, Ford is increasing investment and building new electric vehicles. Six thousand new employees, union employees I might add, in the Midwest."
"So, you know, lots of luck on his trip to the moon,"
Ouch. Whether it’s the Tesla boss seeing this recession sooner than others or more of a Tesla problem, a company being overstaffed isn’t usually great news.
Then, Musk clarified his comments. "Total headcount will increase, but salaries should be fairly flat," so perhaps that super bad feeling isn’t as bad as feared…
Tesla's AI Day has been pushed back to September 30th. Musk hopes to have a working prototype of the Optimus robot to show off by then. There’s the ever-present distraction of the Twitter acquisition to navigate too.
Tesla is down by over 40% from the all-time-highs. Are those long time doubters that claim Tesla stock is way overvalued going to be proven right?
Or can Elon keep proving the doubters wrong?
Not investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance.