Tesla nears bear market territory, and it could get a lot worse
Tech stocks are soaring, but there’s one name that’s noticeably absent from the recent rally: Tesla.
Shares in the electric-car maker fell 2 percent on Friday after reports that production of the Model 3 would be delayed. Tesla’s stock has been on a precipitous decline since hitting a high last month, falling 17 percent, near bear market territory.
“This is very much a momentum stock … when you have these kind of momentum stocks, any sort of production delays, or any sort of push-outs they have with any of these new models, these stocks are going to react very quickly,” Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray, said Thursday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”
From a technical standpoint, “if you look at the chart, you can see that we’ve just recently broken what I would define as a bit of an ascending triangle. The stock has broken this, and it looks like to us the next kind of big area of support comes in around $290. So you have another 11 percent downside before you really find that support,” he said.
Johnson added that he would wait until shares fell to the $290 range before buying the stock. In midday trading Friday, Tesla shares were down 1.3 percent to $320.85.
In the past, sharp declines in Tesla have proven to be tremendous buying opportunities. The last time Tesla was in a bear market the stock fell 32 percent over the course of seven months, from April 2016 to November 2016, but then in the period following from November 2016 to September 2017, Tesla shares rallied 122 percent.
According to Dennis Davitt, portfolio manager at Harvest Volatility Management, “the options market is telling a story that Tesla is two different companies … as a car manufacturer, it’s overvalued. As an infrastructure play, it can go considerably higher. The momentum can carry it higher.”
One of the main things that is affecting Tesla is what “most people don’t realize. It’s a highly rate-sensitive stock. A lot of growth is built on Tesla borrowing money, and if the cost of borrowing money continues to increase, then it’s going to have real negative effects on the stock,” Davitt said on “Trading Nation.”
He said that using put options to hedge losses would be the best way to protect against a bigger drop. Options are “very inexpensive, and I mean that’s the play in Tesla,” specifically Davitt pointed to the January 325-puts. Tesla is set to report earnings next week and the options market is implying a 6 percent move in either direction.
“Whether you buy it or sell it, if it goes higher or lower, spend a little bit of money. Protect your downside and then you can continue to the upside,” Davitt said.
Tesla is scheduled to report earnings after the market close on Wednesday, and analysts polled by FactSet are expecting a loss of $2.27 per share on $2.9 billion on revenue.