Holders of Tesla Motors (TSLA) - Get Report might have finally figured out how to trade Elon Musk's steady stream of pronouncements concerning businesses and hobbies unrelated to auto-making: On Tuesday, they ignored it.
Musk, who is CEO of both Tesla and privately held SpaceX, on Tuesday laid out his ambitious plan to use SpaceX rockets to colonize Mars beginning in the next decade, announcing a vessel capable of carrying 100 passengers with cargo and then meandering on about different fueling options and how to make the Red Planet more inhabitable.
The plan, realistic or not, was well-suited for the audience at the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he was presenting. But because of Musk's reputation it was picked up much more broadly than that, with financial networks breaking in with fresh details and tech Web sites covering it live as if it was an Apple product announcement.
Though going to Mars has little to do with manufacturing electric cars, in years past major developments involving other Musk entities seemingly always caused shares of Tesla to move. For example, shares of Tesla traded down more than 5% earlier this month on the day that a SpaceX rocket exploded on its launchpad. But the stock's reaction Tuesday was remarkably blasé, trading down about 1.5% early in the session prior to the speech and remaining in that range until close without showing much of any reaction to Musk's comments.
That's not to say that Tesla holders weren't following what was going on in Mexico, and given the inter-workings between various Musk entities it is probably wise for shareholders to keep abreast of the entire "Tony Stark" portfolio. Tesla has a pending $2.6 billion offer to acquire SolarCity (SCTY) , where Musk is chairman and a major shareholder, and SpaceX is a holder of debt in that solar panel installation firm.
But to state the obvious, there is nothing in the SpaceX plan announced Tuesday that is going to help Tesla finish development of its affordable Model 3 sedan, and nothing that should move the needle on Tesla shares like how quarterly sales figures would.
Muted reactions to anything are a rarity for Tesla shares, with bears and bulls dug in to extreme positions and trading potshots about a company some thinks is headed for insolvency and some believe is the next Apple. A bit of a break from the hyperbole and the day-trader mentality would benefit bulls and bears as both camps wait to see if the Model 3 comes to market as planned and how a fresh batch of new competitors impacts overall sales.
Retired Brigadier Gen. Chuck Yeager, himself an aerospace pioneer famous for breaking the sound barrier, when asked on Twitter Tuesday what he thought of the Mars plan responded simply by typing "P.R." If Tuesday's trading is any indication perhaps Tesla holders are getting better at filtering out PR from what is material.
We can only hope.