Tesla Shares Continue to Slide After Elon Musk Announces Job Cuts

The shorts are back in business with Tesla!

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By Andrew Osterland

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Six weeks ago, investors selling Tesla shares short were feeling the squeeze after the stock had surged more than 30 percent. Analysts suggested that a little more pressure might force the shorts to abandon their bets en masse and potentially fuel a still bigger run in the share price.

That was then. The shorts are letting it ride now as Tesla shares continue to fall through the $300 level. The stock was down 3.79 percent today. It has fallen 19 percent since last Friday when Tesla announced more than 3000 job-cuts and CEO Elon Musk gave a candid assessment of the company's challenges going forward. Further details of the layoffs emerged today. The shares are now down 33 percent since the middle of December.

The broader stock market was mixed as strong fourth quarter earnings results from Dow index companies IBM, United Technologies and Proctor & Gamble helped the Dow post a gain of 0.7 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes were up 0.22 percent and 0.08 percent respectively, while the Entrepreneur Index™ was down 0.1 percent.

Comcast had the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, rising 5.49 percent. The media and telecom giant reported results this morning that beat earnings and revenue estimates and raised its dividend to shareholders by ten cents per share. The stock has yet to regain the ground it lost since early December but is up 11.6 percent since Christmas Eve.

Capital One Financial, on the other hand, was hammered for disappointing results. The bank topped earnings estimates but fell short on revenues, leading analysts to lower their price targets for the stock. It fell 6.24 percent -- the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. Pest control company Rollins Inc. (-3.12 percent) also fell sharply after it missed both earnings and revenue estimates.

So far, the earnings season is off to a promising start. Of the 11 percent of S&P 500 companies that reported earnings through last Friday, 76 percent had beaten earnings estimates and 56 percent had topped revenue targets, according to research firm FactSet. It's clear, however, that companies that miss estimates will be punished in the market and that outlook may be more important than current results.

The technology sector was generally down today with most companies posting modest losses. Twitter was an exception, falling 3.97 percent after interviews CEO Jack Dorsey had with Rolling Stone magazine and a podcast were published online. The founder and CEO of Twitter discussed the difficulty of dealing with harassment on the social media network and removing messages from Nazis and white supremacists.

Facebook was also down 2.22 percent on the day. The biggest gain in the tech sector was posted by software-maker salesforce.com (0.54 percent).

Other notable declines on the day included pipeline manager Kinder Morgan, (-2.21 percent), Ford Motor Co. (-1.88 percent) and oil and gas producer Hess Corp. (-1.58 percent). Other gains included homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. (2.42 percent), Alexion Pharmaceuticals, (2.37 percent) and whiskey-maker Brown-Forman Corp. (1.77 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on ;Entrepreneur.com.

Andrew Osterland

Andrew Osterland is a contributing writer for CNBC.com. He specializes in capital markets, personal finance and taxes.

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