This is the time of year when I look back at the best stocks of 2013 to see what moved the needle, and why they did so well. By far, the best stock of 2013 that I followed was Tesla Motors (TSLA).
As of this writing, Tesla stock is up about 335% year to date — a move that is the envy of not only other car companies, but also of other tech stocks … or just about any stock in any sector.
As I wrote last month, you know a company is doing something special when a national broadcast celebrity decides to auction off a three-hour ride with him in his Tesla Model S. The final winning bid on the ride was an incredible $7,800 — a testament to both the allure of the Tesla Model S and the appeal of provocative talk show host and Internet broadcast entrepreneur Tom Leykis.
But despite the impressive spike in TSLA stock in 2013, it wasn’t all a smooth electric ride for Elon Musk & Co. In fact, Tesla Motors did hit a few roadblocks on the way to that big gain, including fiery headlines over fires in Tesla batteries.
Those Tesla fires caused shares to meltdown in early November — a month that saw the two single-largest down days in TSLA stock.
On the plus side, we saw Tesla stock really make a stellar shot higher in May, as the company reported its first-ever profit that also caused a “tsunami of hurt” on all of those short TSLA stock.
The Numbers Behind TSLA
Take a look at the numbers behind TSLA stock this year:
- In 2013 (as of Dec. 11), there were 74 days where TSLA stock moved 3% or more (my threshold in this stock for a notable move).
- Of those 74 big days for Tesla stock, 42 of them were to the upside, while 32 were in the down column.
- As for the really big trading days, TSLA stock had 11 trading sessions where the shares moved 10% or more in 2013 .
- Of those 11 big-time trading days for Tesla stock, eight of them were positive with just three in the red.
The Tesla stock chart below marks the three biggest up days and three biggest down days for TSLA shares this year. Take a look:
- Apr. 1: Tesla stock investors had a great April Fool’s Day, as shares saw a 15.9% spike.
- May 9: This was the biggest one-day jump in TSLA stock, with shares accelerating with the velocity of an Elon Musk-powered SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Tesla stock landed up 24.4% by that day’s closing bell.
- July 16: Mid-July saw one downright ugly day, though, as TSLA stock fell 14.3%.
- Nov. 6: Then in early November, TSLA stock had its single biggest losing day as shares tumbled 14.5%.
- Nov. 18: Tesla stock continued its slide with a 10.2% decline a week and a half later.
- Dec. 3: But at the start of the month, TSLA finally got some momentum. Tesla stock vaulted 16.5% in one day.
What Moved Tesla Stock?
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the two biggest down days for TSLA stock were due to reports of fires in the Model S. The other big down day in the shares, which came on July 16, was due to a downbeat research note from Goldman Sachs, which set a price target of $84 on TSLA stock. As a Tesla bull, I still haven’t stopped laughing at that horrible call, which is only off by about 70%, so far.
As for the up days, the breaking into the black in May well before anyone thought the company would was the biggest driver. However, I think the best news for the stock going forward came on Dec. 3, when shares vaulted 16.5% on reports that the Model S was cleared of any defect by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority after three crashes involving the car ended in fires.
To be certain, it was a big year for TSLA stock, as it was undoubtedly one of the best stocks of 2013. What will 2014 bring? Well, I say if you want to make some money next year, then jump into Tesla stock for a sweet ride.
As of this writing, Jim Woods was long TSLA.