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Tesla's Stock Gets Burned After Car Fire And Downgrading

Posted: October 3, 2013

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Twin challenges — a shift in opinion about the stock by an influential research firm and a YouTube clip of a fire that destroyed a Tesla Model S — seem to have shaken investors a bit.

A Tesla Model S at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 15.

A Tesla Model S at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 15. Stan Honda

High-flying billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla Motors has seen its shares skid the past couple days because they've been downgraded by analysts and because of a YouTube clip showing one of the all-electric luxury cars engulfed in flames earlier this week.

Just before noon ET, a share of Tesla was trading around $169.50 — down about 6.5 percent for the day and $25 (13 percent) below its 52-week high of $194.50.

The downgrade by analysts from Baird Research, who shifted Tesla shares from a rating of likely to "outperform" to one of "neutral," was basically because Baird believes there's already been "significant price appreciation" in the stock.

The news about Baird's new rating came out Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Jalopnik.com gave wide exposure to the YouTube clip, which shows a Tesla Model S that burned the day before near Seattle. Seeing that video of a vehicle from the company that boasts about making "the safest car in America," seemed to worry investors, AutoWeek writes.

Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean "said the fire Tuesday was caused by a large metallic object that directly hit one of the battery pack's modules in the pricey Model S," The Seattle Times says. "The fire was contained to a small section at the front of the vehicle, she said, and no one was injured."

Jalopnik adds that firefighters "released more details [Wednesday night] on the fire, saying a battery pack at the front of the car was burning and adding water made the flames worse."

(Note: There are some expletives in the video, so we're pointing to it rather than embedding it. We are a "family" blog, after all.)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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