Shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were even more volatile than usual in April as investors went back and forth on whether to be bullish or bearish on the company. At the end of the month, shares had risen 10.4% in April, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, and the surge has continued in May with shares climbing another 4% as I'm writing.
Shares were depressed early in April as investors worried that Tesla's Model 3 production wouldn't hit its 2,500 unit per week plan by the end of the first quarter. Indeed, Tesla missed that mark and was only producing 2,020 Model 3s in the last week of March, but that wasn't as bad as some investors had feared and CEO Elon Musk said the goal was still to produce 5,000 cars per week by the end of June 2018. The news was interpreted positively and sent shares higher early in April.
Late in the month, Tesla released first-quarter earnings that shed some more light on the company's revenue ($3.4 billion) and net loss ($709.6 billion), but that was overshadowed by a bizarre conference call in which Musk called an analyst's question "boring" and instead took questions from YouTube. Despite being an unconventional call, shares have risen slightly since earnings were released.
Whether you're a Tesla bull or bear, I don't think April or early May has proven either side of the Tesla debate to be correct. The company still has a long way to go before it's making 500,000 vehicles per year, as planned, and could need billions more in cash to complete Musk's vision for the company. But there was enough progress on increasing production to keep the bulls happy and there aren't many investors abandoning ship yet. Of course, that narrative could change quickly depending on manufacturing at Tesla's factories in the next few months, so stay tuned for more volatility depending on how the ramp-up goes.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.