Is Tesla the Meme Stock of Yesteryear?
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Is Tesla the Meme Stock of Yesteryear?

Just as Elon Musk’s firm begins to look fundamentally more solid, investors have moved on to other speculative objects.

By Charley Grant
Thu, Jul 29, 2021 10:24amGrey Clock 2 min

For years, Tesla stock charged ever-higher despite weak operating results. So far in 2021, that pattern has reversed itself.

Second-quarter results from Elon Musk’s auto maker were the company’s strongest on record. Tesla booked US$11.9 billion in sales and earned $1.1 billion in quarterly profit according to generally accepted accounting principles. Both figures topped analyst expectations. And while Tesla sold $354 million of regulatory credits to rivals, the auto maker would have easily finished the quarter in the black without them. Results were flattered by Tesla receiving certain goods and services from suppliers for which it hadn’t yet been charged, but Mr. Musk still deserves credit for that strong performance.

Tesla managed to deliver more than 200,000 cars in the quarter despite the global semiconductor shortage. And the falling price of bitcoin, which the auto maker carries on its balance sheet for some reason, only resulted in a $23 million hit to the bottom line.

But while Tesla’s actual business has lately come of age, the stock isn’t playing along. It was slightly higher on Tuesday morning, had dropped 9% so far this year and is down by more than a fifth over the past six months, lagging bigger rivals like Ford and General Motors. Meme stock aficionados, who couldn’t get enough of Tesla until recently, seem to have moved on to cryptocurrencies, brick-and-mortar video-game retailers and movie-theatre chains.

One reason: Tesla’s excellent results underscore how disconnected its valuation is from business reality. Tesla has earned $1.41 a share so far this year. If the auto maker continues to shine in 2021, it might earn $4 a share on a GAAP basis. At the current stock price, the company is valued at more than 150 times that still-hypothetical earnings figure—orders of magnitude higher than any comparable rival.

And the news wasn’t entirely positive on Monday: Tesla said its semitrailer truck, which Mr. Musk first showed to the public in 2017, wouldn’t begin production until next year. Given Tesla’s decade-long track record of overpromising on timelines, investors shouldn’t be expecting even this new guidance to hold up.

Meanwhile, rivals such as Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen are developing electric offerings of their own. And startups, including Lucid Motors, give investors more options to speculate on an electrified future.

Tesla seems to have put its most turbulent days behind it. That doesn’t preclude a bumpy ride for its shareholders in the future.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 27, 2021



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Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

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