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TheStreet Open House

Tesla's Hazard Lights Are Flashing

Stocks in this article: TSLAGMFNSANY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Unless you're a market timer with exceptional day-trading skills, your chances of making money with Tesla (TSLA) are diminishing faster than a Wisconsin State Trooper can say, "Impressive car, but I'm issuing you a speeding violation."

You can see my last two Tesla articles here and here. The main takeaway is that Tesla isn't making money selling electric cars.

The little money the company has made is through unsustainable tax credits with little hope of a repeat performance anytime soon. In other words, don't count on Tesla's profits keeping pace with its stock price.

Tesla isn't alone in building electric cars, but it is alone in the relative valuation. General Motors (GM) and Nissan (NSANY) build electric cars, and, like Tesla, selling electric cars isn't a profit center.

Some of the money is already spent, and there is no putting the toothpaste back into the tube. But other money is subject to the whims of state and federal legislators. Without changes, the federal $7,500 tax credit should phase out beginning with 200,000 vehicles sold.

Tesla has a long way to go before it sells 200,000 vehicles, but the fact of diminishing returns shouldn't be lost on investors, especially longer-term investors.

In the book "Market Wizards" by Jack Schwager, commodities trader Ed Seykota is interviewed and makes one of the most insightful and salient observations in investing. Seykota said that investors and traders get what they genuinely want out of the markets.


If you are seeking excitement, like a passenger on a flight to Vegas, you will surely find it with Tesla. But if you're a serious long-term investor, you're probably more interested in Ford Motor (F), or GM.

The choice is yours, and as an active day trader I understand money can be made long or short with Tesla as a day trade and/or swing trade. My investor caution isn't directed at short-term "hit and run" traders because they rely on up-to-the-second market information to coordinate their positions.

The person who needs to take a step back and watch the share price momentum is the investor. Unless you have seen this movie before you may not fully understand the dynamics of a short squeeze. Momentum traders recognize that euphoria can switch to panic in a split second. It's the primary reason Tesla whipsaws so quickly.

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