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Tesla stock still climbing, despite federal subpoena asking about executive share trading

tesla motors logo



In recent days, Tesla Motors stock (TSLA) has been climbing and climbing, hitting a high of $58.18 earlier today before closing at a respectable $53.99. The rise comes amid a string of headline-making events – higher-than-expected sales, franchise dealer fights and a new warranty program, to name just three – but under all of the good news lies a potential problem. The Wall Street Journal revealed today that Tesla was served subpoenas from US federal prosecutors over details on the company’s trading plan for executives. There has been no hint of wrongdoing, the feds just want information, Reuters reports. A similar subpoena was sent to Cardiovascular Systems, which makes medical implements.



The question is how the executives can trade their shares. Reuters reports that it is fine by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules for executives to use something called a 10b5-1 plan to trade their own stock, “even when they have access to private information.” The subpoena does not seem to have anything to do with questions over whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent “overzealous” Tweet was in any way illegal.



This week, analysts at Longboard Asset Management said they believe Tesla common stock will hit $100 in the next 18 months on the way to $200 per share within five years. In any case, we’ll have more information ammunition for the debate when Tesla releases first quarter results May 8th.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Sebastian Blanco

Tesla curbs forecast due to Model S issues, losses total $864.9M

2013 Tesla Model S - black - front three-quarter view



It ain’t easy creating a brand-new automaker from scratch. The fact that Elon Musk and Tesla have actually been able to bring not one, but two cars to market is in itself quite impressive. That said, the road has not been without its bumps, and Tesla is feeling some of the setbacks that come with being a fledgling automaker.



To that end, Tesla has revealed that it expects $400 million to $440 million in full-year revenue, or roughly $160 million less than its prior 2012 revenue forecasts. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday, the electric carmaker said “We have methodically increased our Model S production at a slower rate than we had earlier anticipated,” leading to the company figuring they’ll fall short of the $560 million to $600 million they originally forecasted. Tesla also revealed a net cumulative loss of $864.9 million through June 30 of this year – Tesla has yet to break even as an automaking entity, but it remains something of a startup, so the fact that it has lost money to this point shouldn’t be a major surprise – building cars is expensive, and learning how to do so is even more expensive. Following the disclosure, Tesla shares fell about 8.5 percent this morning in trading.



Tesla cites delays in suppliers for its Model S production shortcomings. The California automaker says it is working with suppliers to speed up deliveries and internally, it is adding shifts and automation to its manufacturing processes. With little more than half of the 5,000-vehicle target expected to be built by year’s end, Tesla says it is four to five weeks behind its delivery goals.



Meanwhile, reservations are on the rise. 11,500 Model S units were spoken for at the end of June, and that number has risen to 13,000 as of September 23 (not counting vehicles already delivered). While reservations increased, so did cancelations.



The first several thousand reserved customers were asked to configure their vehicles for delivery, lest they lose their places in line.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By George Kennedy