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Dow Rampages Higher While Bulletproof Tesla Stock Faces Judgment Day

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:32 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:32 PM
  • The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq strung together a third straight winning session for the U.S. stock market.
  • Reports of a coronavirus vaccine breakthrough and a fantastic jobs report fueled the rally.
  • Judgment day could be coming for Wall Street’s hottest stock – Tesla.

The Dow rampaged higher toward a third straight triple-digit gain on Wednesday as stock market bulls feasted on a blowout jobs report and rumors of a coronavirus vaccine breakthrough.

But as U.S. equities continue to warm back up, Wall Street’s hottest stock – Tesla – is suddenly plunging.

Dow Makes It Three in a Row

The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the stock market higher on Wednesday. The Dow surged 277.61 points or 0.96% to 29,085.24

dow jones, stock market
The Dow secured its third straight triple-digit advance. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

The S&P 500 followed close behind, gaining 23.36 points or 0.71% to rise to 3,320.95.

Weighed down by Tesla, the Nasdaq advanced just 43.71 points or 0.47% to 9,512.25.

Blowout Jobs Report & Coronavirus Vaccine Embolden Stock Market Bulls

Dow futures shot higher overnight in response to reports that multiple scientists had made potential breakthroughs in developing a coronavirus vaccine.

According to reports in Chinese state media and British publication Sky News, research teams at Zhejiang University and Imperial College London had developed drugs that could halt the spread of the deadly virus if future outbreaks occur.

The stock market’s risk-on turn grew even more aggressive after ADP and Moody’s Analytics released a blowout private payrolls report .

And what a report it was.

Private payrolls swelled by a staggering 291,000 jobs in January, nearly double the Dow Jones economist estimate of 150,000. It was also the largest gain since May 2015 .

adp private payrolls january 2020
The jobs market is booming at its best rate since May 2015. | Source: ADP 

Growth was spread across a variety of industries. Leisure and hospitality (96,000) continued to do the heavy lifting, but goods-producing businesses added a net 55,000 jobs, with only the natural resources and mining category receding slightly (-2,000).

Even manufacturing flashed growth.

The beleaguered sector added 10,000 jobs, its best gain in 11 months. That lends further credence to ISM’s manufacturing PMI data, which showed that industrial production had expanded in January for the first time since August 2019.

Tesla Stock’s Impenetrable Rally Finally Begins to Crack

As the broad U.S. stock market kicks back into high gear, Wall Street’s hottest single stock might be on the brink of a painful reversal.

Since bottoming at $176.99 in mid-2019, Tesla stock (NASDAQ: TSLA) has gone parabolic.

tesla stock (TSLA)
Tesla stock is up more than 100% since the beginning of January. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

Bolstered by a series of short squeezes and increasingly-rabid analyst price targets, Tesla stock has surged more than 100% in 2020. The S&P 500 is up just 1% over the same period; the Dow is virtually flat.

By the time they peaked at $968.99 on Feb. 4, TSLA shares had rallied a ridiculous 475% off their 52-week lows.

But Tesla stock plunged off those highs in the minutes heading into Tuesday’s close, and it suffered further losses when trading resumed this morning.

At last check, Tesla stock had nosedived by 8.35% to $813.00.

tesla stock chart
Tesla stock plunged on Wednesday. | Source: Yahoo Finance 

The immediate catalyst was the news that the coronavirus outbreak would force Tesla to delay Model 3 deliveries  from its Shanghai Gigafactory, which closed for the Chinese Lunar New Year and has not reopened due to concerns over the epidemic.

“This may slightly impact profitability for the quarter but is limited as the profit contribution from Model 3 Shanghai remains in the early stages,” Tao Lin, vice president at Tesla, announced today, according to a CNBC translation.

That report may be enough to justify the Tesla downturn, but bearish analysts say the stock was primed for a reckoning anyway.

True believers like ARK Invest may maintain eye-popping long-term targets, but ordinary Tesla bulls have grown concerned about the scale of the recent rally, which appears entirely divorced from fundamentals.

Even Citron Research – which promised never to short Tesla again – quipped  that “even Elon [Musk] would short the stock here if he was a fund manager.”

This is no longer about the technology, it has become the new Wall St casino.