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- T. Rowe Price, once Tesla‘s largest institutional shareholder, has dumped the vast majority of its stake in the electric-car maker.
- The investment firm sold off 81% of its shares in the first quarter, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed Wednesday.
- T. Rowe had also reduced its stake in the fourth quarter.
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The giant investor that Tesla once counted as its largest institutional shareholder has drastically reduced its stake.
The firm’s funds now own just under 1% of outstanding shares, or nearly 1.7 million shares, according to Bloomberg equity ownership data. T. Rowe had previously halved its Tesla position in the fourth quarter to 5.2% from 10.12%.
T. Rowe Price’s position could have changed since the end of the quarter.
The significant reduction came during a difficult run for Elon Musk’s automaker, with mounting concerns shaking investors’ confidence in a company long seen as having revolutionary potential.
Tesla reported a larger-than-expected loss in its most recent quarterly report, disappointed investors and analysts alike with its latest vehicle delivery figures, and underwhelmed with its long-awaited Model Y unveiling.
As of Thursday, Musk remained Tesla’s largest shareholder, with just under 34 million shares, or 19% of the company’s outstanding shares, per Bloomberg data.
Other institutional investors have only built up their positions.
The largest institutional shareholder is now Baillie Gifford, with 13 million shares, or 7.5% of Tesla’s outstanding shares. The Scotland-based investment firm bought just over 10,000 shares in the first quarter, its 13-F filing showed.
Capital Group Companies and Fidelity Investments are Tesla’s third- and fourth-largest shareholders, respectively, per Bloomberg data. Capital Group, for its part, bought 855,279 shares in the first quarter, a Wednesday filing showed.
A chorus of Wall Street analysts have slashed their Tesla estimates and price targets in recent weeks as concerns of underlying demand have formed a cloud over Tesla’s shares.
One of Tesla’s most vocal bulls, the analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush, turned neutral on the stock last month, pointing to “distractions” like insurance products and robo-taxi efforts and saying the real issue appeared to be “growing demand woes.”
“As such, we no longer can look investors in the eye and recommend buying this stock at current levels until Tesla starts to take its medicine and focus on reality around demand issues which is the core focus of investors,” Ives wrote in an April note.
And a team of Evercore ISI analysts on Wednesday slashed their price target for Tesla for the second time in a month. They also cut their vehicle delivery expectations across all models, as well as profit expectations for the next two years.
“The only thing that can justify such valuations is supernatural growth and best in class execution,” they told clients. “Both are in question right now.”
Tesla shares fell by as much as 2.2% in Thursday trading. The stock has fallen 31% this year.
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