After an initial drop on Monday that followed the broader market swoon, Tesla shares recovered all losses and even managed to close up 1.6% as enthusiasm over tomorrow's Battery Day unveil once again dominated retail flow with a whopping 33,152 deep out of the money $600 calls traded, sparking yet another gamma meltup as dealers were forced to buy stock to keep their book hedged.
However, in a surprise announcement ahead of tomorrow's highly anticipated day, none other than Elon Musk sparked another round of selling after the close, when he poured cold water on expectations, warning that "what we announce [tomorrow] will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022" and adding that "even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves."
We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too). However, even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2020
As Bloomberg notes, the highly anticipated event has helped drive up Tesla shares in the recent months, with analysts and experts saying potential announcements could be on anything from a million-mile battery to achieving cost-parity with traditional cars.
That said, Tesla skeptics were not surprised...
... although it was once again the buildup of enthusiasm ahead of tomorrow's reveal that got to the retail public, which quickly forgot about the sharp drop in Tesla stock at the start of September following the non-admission into the S&P500 and looked to the next catalyst with so much hope.
Yet sure enough, that too is now a dud. Even the Tesla faithful were less than enthused by Musk's latest bait and switch:
It means I’m going to wait until 2022 to buy my next Tesla with the new battery technology how many others will as well...previously owned 2 https://t.co/Baeqiuoun5— FxMacro (@fxmacro) September 21, 2020
Which in turn goes back to the now tried and tired strategy perfected by Musk of hyping, hyping, hyping well ahead of any given event, only to let the air out just prior. Consider what he said on Jan 29, 2020 during Tesla's Q4 earnings call:
"Battery Day people. Wait until Battery Day. It's gonna blow your mind. It blows my mind, and I know it!"
Or... not. The result: TSLA stock quickly dropped 30%, which while not nearly as aggressive as this morning's tumble, promptly wiped out as much as $42 billion in Tesla market cap, the equivalent of GM's entire market cap.
And while Musk remains an undisputed master when it comes to setting and missing expectations, the question once again emerges: at what point will Tesla do something to justify its "growth" status. Because one look at its revenues over the past two years certainly begs a simple question: where is the growth.