Stock Market Wrap-Up: Why Tesla's Price Cuts and Beyond Meat's Stock Drop Shouldn't Worry You
The stock market posted another round of gains.by Dan Caplinger (TMFGalagan)
Bulls remained in control of Wall Street on Wednesday, as major market benchmarks reached their best levels since early March. Even as lingering doubts about the coronavirus pandemic remain, investors are pleased to see signs of things returning to some semblance of normal.
As we've seen recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had larger gains than the broader market, but the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) also managed to pick up ground.
Today's stock market
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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.
Among individual stocks, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares were surprisingly little changed, even after the electric automaker announced a move that made some fear that vehicle demand could be weaker than previously believed. Elsewhere, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) saw its stock sink substantially, shocking those who've seen recent events as being extremely positive for the plant-based meat alternative specialist.
Are cheaper Teslas a bad thing?
Tesla shares were up a fraction of a percent Wednesday following news overnight that the automaker had chosen to cut prices of some its vehicles. For a company with a highly loyal customer base, news that demand might be weak came as a surprise to many investors, despite the obvious pressures on the broader economy.
Tesla reportedly reduced prices of electric vehicles by about 5% to 6% in North America, with smaller price cuts of 4% in China. The Tesla website showed starting prices for Model S sedans and Model X SUVs in North America down $5,000 from previous levels, with the mass-market Model 3 sedan getting a $2,000 reduction to just under $38,000. Buyers of Model X and Model S vehicles in China will enjoy lower prices, but the company's Chinese unit expects to keep prices of its Shanghai-built Model 3s at current levels.
Auto sales among traditional automakers have suffered big declines in recent months, with lockdown measures and economic uncertainty causing demand to plunge. What's less clear is how sensitive Tesla's business is to those industrywide factors. Given how much investors value higher production and delivery figures than net profit, however, efforts to stimulate new Tesla purchases make plenty of sense.
Don't panic over Beyond Meat
Elsewhere, Beyond Meat's stock dropped more than 7%. The move added to declines from earlier in the week, but the confusion among investors stems from the fact that the plant-based meat substitute pioneer has gotten plenty of good news recently.
In general, Beyond Meat has seen its business hold up well during the coronavirus pandemic. Revenue in the first quarter jumped more than 140% from year-ago levels, and the company managed to reverse a year-ago loss with a modest profit. It's true that the company's relationships with restaurants and other food service providers have taken a hit from temporary restaurant closures, but customers were more willing to purchase Beyond Meat products directly from retail locations.
More importantly, Beyond Meat sees continued interest from customers looking to move away from regular meat. Coronavirus-linked supply chain disruptions pose a threat to the meat industry, but Beyond Meat is looking at that as an opportunity to let people try out its products.
Today's move seemed like natural share price volatility that was unrelated to any fundamental news about the company. That's not unusual, and it's important not to overreact to short-term stock moves. As long as the prospects for Beyond Meat's business remain favorable, declines like today's offer investors a chance to buy shares slightly more cheaply.