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VOL. 42 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 4, 2018
Tesla's Musk defends comments made during conference call
By The Associated Press
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is going on the defensive in a series of tweets, saying the people he shut down during a contentious conference call were "sell-side analysts who represent a short seller thesis, not investors."
Musk, who's been known for his quirky behavior, came under scrutiny after the conference call for Tesla's quarterly earnings Wednesday went awry. Musk was criticized for cutting off two analysts that asked about the electric vehicle and solar panel company's cash needs and orders for its Model-3. Musk called the questions "dry" and "not cool."
On Friday Musk tried to clarify some comments he made during the call, tweeting that he deemed a question about capital expenditures boneheaded because the answer was already given in a Q1 newsletter.
Musk also said a question about Model-3 demand was absurd because "Tesla has roughly half a million reservations, despite no advertising & no cars in showrooms. Even after reaching 5k/week production, it would take 2 years just to satisfy existing demand even if new sales dropped to 0."
The conference call Wednesday night came just after Tesla Inc. announced a record first-quarter loss. The quarterly performance, coupled with the conference call, saw Tesla's stock drop quickly in after-hours trading and continue to decline on Thursday. But following Musk's comments to his 21.6 million followers on Twitter, the shares have started to recover: up about 1.6 percent in Friday morning trading.
Tesla investors have been hoping that by enduring millions of dollars of short-term losses for years that they will see a long-term payoff. Musk's comments may have been enough to assuage them for now.