Late Wednesday, the electric carmaker reported $2.2 billion in cash and equivalents for the quarter, down from $3.7 billion at the end of the previous quarter. That reduction included a $920 million debt repayment in early March, and was one of several potentially hair-raising details in Tesla's first quarter earnings release.
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report missed revenue and earnings estimates by a wide margin, reporting quarterly revenue of $4.54 billion and an adjusted loss of $2.90 per share, versus the $5.42 billion and adjusted loss of $1.15 expected by analysts. Its quarterly sales were $3.72 billion, an increase of 36% from one year ago but down 41% from the previous quarter.
Tesla's fluctuating cash position has also been a subject of much speculation among investors, with CEO Elon Musk saying repeatedly that he does not intend to raise more capital on the grounds that Tesla won't need it once it achieves consistent profitability.
But after an unprofitable quarter that badly missed estimates on the top and bottom lines, Musk sounded somewhat more amenable to raising money while also extolling the virtues of "financial discipline."
"I don't think raising capital should be a substitute for making a company operate more effectively ... at this point I do think there is some merit to raising capital, but it's a matter of timing," Musk said in response to an analyst question about raising funds.
With Thursday's almost 5% decline in Tesla shares to around $246, the stock has fallen more than 25% from where it ended 2018.