Tesla shares slip as global electric vehicles sales show loss

Investors eye competitive threats, ongoing chip shortage, crashes and potential delay to factory in Germany

Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla shares fell by the most in three weeks, sitting out of the broader market’s advance, after electric-vehicle sales figures showed a loss in global market share for April.

The drop adds to pressure on Tesla's stock in recent months as investors eyed growing competitive threats, an ongoing chip shortage, multiple crashes, signs of a slowdown in China sales and a potential delay to a factory in Germany. The Wall Street Journal also reported that US regulators warned Tesla last year that chief executive Elon Musk's tweets had twice violated a court order.

The shares fell as much as 4 per cent in New York on Wednesday, before closing down 3 per cent, restraining the advance in the S&P 500 Index. It was the stock’s biggest one-day decline since May 13th. Tesla shares also missed out on a two-day rally that lifted other electric-car stocks.

Tesla's global market share decreased to 11 per cent in April from 29 per cent in March, likely marking the lowest such reading since January 2019, according to Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy. He said Tesla lost ground in China, Europe and the US, where its dominance has been eroded by new competition and recent price hikes.


While the data weighed on the stock, analysts warned against reading too much into volatile monthly moves in market-share numbers, given the small size of the electric-vehicle universe and the industry’s challenges from the pandemic and semiconductor shortages.

"Month to month is tricky to extrapolate," Roth Capital Partners' Craig Irwin said in an email. "Tesla can continue to do well, but it won't be all of the market as so many are expecting."

Tesla is now down 14 per cent this year, while the S&P 500 has advanced 12 per cent. That marks a shift from 2020, when the shares soared more than eightfold as investors plowed into growth stocks. Among 44 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, more than a quarter rate the stock a sell.

"It has been a choppy year in China along with a bunch of black eyes, and that combination in an overall risk-off environment means any bad news that the market would have dismissed last year, is being taken on the chin right now," Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said by phone. – Bloomberg