Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington on July 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington on July 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS

Paris — Elon Musk dug in with his criticisms of Tesla analysts, accusing two of promoting ideas that justify shorting the electric-vehicle (EV) maker. He also castigated himself.

"The 2 questioners I ignored on the Q1 call are sell-side analysts who represent a short seller thesis, not investors," Musk tweeted on Friday. He reiterated that a query by Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi about capital expenditures was "boneheaded" and said Joseph Spak of RBC Capital Markets asked an "absurd" question about Model 3 reservations.

After receiving a suggestion on Twitter that blocking analysts who are going to be negative would solve his problem, Musk wrote back: "True. And once they were on the call, I should have answered their questions live. It was foolish of me to ignore them."

Tesla shares fell 0.6% as of 8.50am in New York, a day after Musk’s abrasive behaviour on the company’s earnings call sent the stock down by the most in more than a month.

Musk rejected analysts’ questions during the Wednesday conference call to discuss another quarter in which Tesla burned more than $1bn in cash. He said questions he was getting were "so dry" and told the conference-call operator to pivot instead to inquiries from a YouTube channel-owner who said he was representing retail investors.

Bernstein’s Sacconaghi and RBC’s Spak both rate Tesla shares the equivalent of hold. "There is incremental concern when, on an analyst financial quarterly call, the CEO doesn’t appear to want to talk about important financial metrics," Sacconaghi said on Bloomberg Television on Thursday. "The read-through is that, potentially, the CEO doesn’t care, or isn’t focused, about those financial metrics or ultimately the numbers don’t tell a good story. But either of those interpretations are not particularly comforting."

Sacconaghi has a $265 price target on the stock, while Spak sees the shares falling to $280.

The Tesla released in its earnings was "actually super good", Musk said in another tweet. The company’s Model S and Model X vehicles "are producing major positive cash flow & Model 3 is about to do same".

Bloomberg