What happened

Shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) are getting slammed on Tuesday morning. They fell by more than 7% at market open. Further declines had the shares down by almost 13% at one point, but as of 10:05 a.m. EST, they were back to being down by about 8%.

The pullback in the electric automaker's shares is likely primarily due to more bearishness in the overall market. Growth stocks like Tesla are getting hit particularly hard.

A chart showing a stock price falling

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Highlighting the market's decline on Tuesday, the S&P 500 is down about 1.1% as of this writing. But the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is down 2.3%.

The market's skittishness comes as traders anticipate public comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed Chair has scheduled hearings Tuesday and Wednesday. Investors will be paying close attention to what he says about rising government bond yields and the potential for inflation.

Tesla stock's outsize decline relative to the market's pullback isn't surprising, as it's coming off a huge run-up. Even after Tuesday's slide, shares are up by about 270% over the past 12 months.

Now what

While Tesla's stock is taking a beating, 2021 will likely be a pivotal year for its business. Management believes deliveries will grow at a year-over-year rate of greater than 50% this year. Further, Tesla said it thinks it can average a 50% annualized growth rate in deliveries over a multiyear period.

In addition, management believes the automaker's profitability will improve over the long haul. "We expect our operating margin will continue to grow over time," Tesla said in its fourth-quarter update, "continuing to reach industry-leading levels with capacity expansion and localization plans under way." 

Unfortunately, however, much of Tesla's exciting growth story may already be priced into the stock, so it's not surprising to see volatility in the share price.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.