Wall Street

Elon Musk defends his strange conference-call performance, promises 'short burn of the century'

Key Points
  • Musk tweeted Friday: "The 'dry' questions were not asked by investors, but rather by two sell-side analysts who were trying to justify their Tesla short thesis."
  • He added later in the morning: "Oh and uh short burn of the century comin soon. Flamethrowers should arrive just in time."
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Tesla chief executive Elon Musk took to Twitter early Friday to defend his peculiar behavior on an earnings conference call that caused shares of the electric car maker to lose more than 5 percent.

"The 'dry' questions were not asked by investors, but rather by two sell-side analysts who were trying to justify their Tesla short thesis," Musk tweeted. "They are actually on the *opposite* side of investors. HyperChange represented actual investors, so I switched to them."


Musk, in a Twitter rant that followed later Friday morning, promised those betting against Tesla would regret it.


Tesla shares gained 3.3 percent Friday, a day after sliding 6 percent.

On Wednesday evening's conference call, in response to a question about capital requirements from Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi, Musk said, "Boring, bonehead questions are not cool, Next?"

5 outrageous Elon Musk moments from the bizarre Tesla call

In response to a question by RBC's Joseph Spak on the call about Model 3 reservations, Musk said, "We're going to go to YouTube. Sorry. These questions are so dry. They're killing me."

Despite Musk's characterization of Sacconaghi and Spak as short sellers, the two have hold ratings on Tesla's stock.

He then took several questions from Galileo Russell, a 25-year-old retail investor and owner of a YouTube Channel who asked Musk on Twitter if he could be on the earnings call, which is normally reserved for analysts, professional investors and sometimes, the media.

His failure to address questions from the analysts about Tesla's finances helped push the stock down 5.6 percent on Thursday. Analysts and investors said the performance hurt their confidence in Musk as the company's leader. Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas said it was the most unusual call he's experienced in 20 years.

Sacconaghi blasted Musk on Thursday on CNBC, saying, "This is a financial analyst call, this is not a TED talk."

Musk continued on Twitter to argue with critics about his performance and defend his failure to answer questions from most of the analysts on the call.

The CEO in the middle of these tweets, acknowledged he shouldn't have dismissed the analysts.

"And once they were on the call, I should have answered their questions live. It was foolish of me to ignore them," he tweeted.

Musk begin a thread as to why the analyst questions were not "valid."