Tesla earnings: Gear up for more drama after Model 3 production burst

The stakes are unusually high as Tesla Inc.’s second-quarter earnings day approaches.

Tesla TSLA, -3.09%  Chief Executive Elon Musk has created several new controversies in recent weeks via his Twitter account, sending shares down more than 7% in July. And memories of the “bizarre” May first-quarter earnings conference call are still fresh on many minds.

The question for Tesla investors may not be asked during the post-results call but it’s increasingly pertinent: Are Musk’s outbursts against analysts, the media, critics and others mere distractions for Tesla, or are they signs of more serious problems at the Silicon Valley auto maker?

Tesla long has been a polarizing stock, and the bear vs. bull needle is unlikely to move much either way when it releases second-quarter numbers on Aug. 1.

That won’t keep investors from tuning in to hear the latest about the Model 3, profit margins and progress on meeting production goals, as well as an update on Musk’s forecast that Tesla is on its way to profitability and positive cash flow in the third and fourth quarter.

“We all wish (Elon Musk) would stop talking about Mars” and other issues extraneous to Tesla, but investors may have to learn to accept Musk’s eccentricity in light of the company’s sharp growth and its big lead in electric cars, said Rob Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Wealth Management.

Musk earlier this month called a diver involved in the Thai cave rescue, a man who had criticized him, a ’pedo’. That tweet has been deleted. Musk later on apologized to the rescue diver and “to the companies I represent as a leader.”

On Monday, the stock was on track for its lowest close since June 5 after a report in The Wall Street Journal said Tesla had asked some of

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